Joe’s War

After serving as a marine for five years of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, Joe Caruso (played by Michael Markiewicz) returns to his Staten Island home but is plagued by memories of intense combat, including dead bodies, which are presented on the screen as flashbacks. He cannot sleep without nightmares, and during the day painful memories seem easily triggered. He cannot relate to Sarah Quinn (Tina Grimm), whom he promised to marry, does not look for a job, becomes an alcoholic, and annoys his grandfather Max Schell (Louis Vanaria) with whom he lives. But why add another to the genre of films featuring post-traumatic stress disorder, such as The Deer Hunter (1978), The War at Home (1996), and In the Valley of Elah (2007)? In the case of Joe’s War, directed by Phil Falcone, some remedies are suggested: visits to psychiatrist Dr. Michael Galante (Armand Asaante)—not supplied by Veterans’ Administration—, friendship with Sal (Anthony J. Gallo), who has gone through the same recent experience, and discussion with his grandfather who finally reveals that he had PTSD after the American war in Vietnam. But Joe’s recovery begins after a year, much too late. MH