“The Anniversary” jumps around in time, focuses on innocent faces and pulls out a few plot dirty tricks in order to show viewers that war is deadly and has very real consequences.
Writer and director Ham Tran makes a convincing story of brothers torn apart by a form of fascism who meet later in battle. As to be expected, one kills the other, and the survivor (Hue Luong) is forever altered for it. All of this happens in Vietnam (which is where the film is shot), but the message is universal.
There is another message, too, that can be taken from this film: Males are far too aggressive. It’s no surprise that these young boys, who pit crickets against each other in some kind of death battle, grow up to wield guns and knives, and they only seem to care when they hurt a loved one. But do they learn their lesson?
“The Anniversary” doesn’t provide answers, but that’s not its purpose. It’s a mirror held to society. It shows us what we’ve become, but lets us determine where we’ll go. And even though the film is far too predictable, it is still important to watch if only because people have yet to change their war-like ways. Unfortunately, the people who need to heed its message the most will probably get the least out of it.