To What Remains Image

To What Remains

By Kyle Bain | December 21, 2021

On September 15, 1944, the lives of many changed. That was the day of the Battle of Peleliu when numerous pilots’ lives were lost. Even worse, some of their bodies were never recovered. To What Remains, written by Mark Monroe and directed by Christopher Woods, centers on a team of individuals attempting to locate those missing pilots. Their journey is perilous, but their mission is just and warranted. Will they find what they are looking for, or will the mystery of these missing pilots go on forever?

It seems impossible if you haven’t experienced the horrors of war firsthand to comprehend the severity of all that these men and women faced. I am one of those people that can only assume what war is like, and I certainly don’t pretend to know all that soldiers experience or what combat does to them. The documentary aims not just to tell the story of searching for these missing men and their planes but to express to viewers the struggles faced on a day-to-day basis by these brave men and women in question (and their families). Dr. Pat Scannon’s narration does just that, as he, in great detail, expresses all that occurred on the days leading up to that fateful day.

Dr. Scannon has a very calm and approachable demeanor, making it easy to remain focused throughout and appreciate all he’s saying. Furthermore, it’s clear from the opening that he’s incredibly knowledgeable, making him the perfect guide for To What Remains. He’s the primary voice throughout the documentary, and I genuinely believe that without him, the film would have failed to entertain in the fashion that it did. He’s the medium that bridges the gap between the facts, the audience, and the families of the pilots.

“…centers on a team of individuals attempting to locate those missing pilots.”

An issue that I can sometimes have with documentaries is that I feel that I am being spoken at rather than to. I get it, it’s a movie, and it can be challenging to invite viewers into the story. However, Monroe and Woods ensure that their film is articulate in its approach, and it feels both like we are being taught and that we are being spoken to as an equal. The content is intriguing, and Dr. Scannon’s narration allows audiences into the story on their terms.

While seeing a number of individuals searching for missing pilots in order to provide closure to others is emotionally gripping, the movie is paced a bit too slow. This means that To What Remains can turn off some, but all in all, it plays out in an acceptable manner. Again, this is due to the journey at hand and the calm, empathetic guide into it.

To What Remains is riveting, as its story is a noble pursuit that can help many families get closure. But what allows the doc to shine is the fact that it’s led by Dr. Scannon. He is the person who allows the film to find success and the reason that the information is received in such a welcome fashion.

To What Remains (2021)

Directed: Christopher Woods

Written: Mark Monroe

Starring: Dr. Pat Scannon, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

To What Remains Image

"…what allows the doc to shine is the fact that it's led by Dr. Scannon."

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