Director: Remy Auberjonois
Written by: Kate Nowlin, Remy Auberjonois
Cast: Kate Nowlin, Tom Lipinski, Chris Sullivan, Rusty Schwimmer, Ashlie Atkinson, Ken Marks, Rene Auberjonois
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 9/8/17
Opens: Sept. 29, 2017
The movie industry should pay homage to women in the forefront of defending our country against its enemies, and we should be grateful to filmmakers who fill that need. And there should be a way of avoiding the cartoonish nature of such fare as “G.I Jane,” which finds Demi Moore’s character, Jordan O’Neill as a Navy Seal who is expected to fail and the excitement of Claire Dane’s Carrie Mathison as a CIA operative in the wonderful TV seasons of “Homeland.” But the terminally prosaic “Blood Stripe,” featuring Kate Nowlin in the nameless role of Our Sergeant, fulfilling multiple enlistments in the Marines, is not the one. We need more attention paid to women in the armed forces as we did during the last world war in which the WACS and the WAVES were well known to all of our grateful citizens.
Writer-Director Remy Auberjonois is better known for his acting in major TV series but is directing for the first time with “Blood Stripe.” His lead character Nowlin, in virtually every frame, is a tough, taciturn woman back from the Middle East and allegedly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her husband Rusty (Chris Sullivan) curbs his enthusiasm upon their meeting but does allow for a hug. He has prepared a welcome home party for his beer-guzzling wife who, in dancing with one of the greeters who allegedly “put his hands all over” ends up with her shoving him against a wall and seemingly about to do further damage. Thinking that she needs to get away from home after a few weeks on a construction crew, mowing the lawn at midnight and jogging down a road with no traffic, she ends up at a retreat, a camp in which she had spent her childhood days, where she is hired by Dot (Rusty Schwimmer) to pack up for the winter.
She might have been better off without the need to relate to the visitors, members of a church led by Art (René Auberjonois), especially since this Art (who in real life is the writer-director’s father) lets out with an obnoxious array of pretentious doggerel he composed. After attempting to seduce a handsome fellow at the camp and throwing him against the wall before he gets to second base, she wanders off and disappears. Nobody knows what happened to her. Does anyone care? Should anyone?
Unrated. 92 minutes. © Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Comments, readers? Agree? Disagree? Why?
Story – C
Acting – C-
Technical – C+
Overall – C