Cast: Justin Bruening, Sarah Drew, Eddie Kaulukukui, Eric Close
Director: David G. Evans
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: INDIVISIBLE is based on the extraordinary true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather. With a strong, faith-filled marriage, the Turners are ready to follow their calling: serving God, family, and country. Fresh from seminary and basic training, Chaplain Turner and his family arrive at Fort Stewart. Yet before the Turners can even unpack their new house, Darren is deployed to Iraq. Heather is left taking care of their three young children alone… as well as serving the families of the other deployed soldiers. Despite a desire to stay connected with their loved ones, the harsh realities of war take a daily toll over the course of the Battalion’s extended deployment. Meanwhile back home, babies are born, kids keep growing, and nerves are frayed with every late-night knock on the door. With deeply etched battle scars, the soldiers’ long-awaited homecoming is much different than any of their families anticipated. Carrying burdens the other can’t comprehend, the Turners must decide if they’re willing to face one more battle: the fight to save their marriage.
It happened. It finally happened. Pure Flix has done what appears to be the impossible. They released a decent movie that exists without solely pandering to a specific group of people. The characters are complex, the situation is authentic, and the acting is serviceable enough where it is never distracting. It was an absolute shocking experience to see something like this based on the previous traumatic experiences with Pure Flix’s movies, but this is such a dramatic shift and not something I am used to seeing from them. While this is still a poor man’s American Sniper, this is a major step in the right direction for a studio that has long history of making mediocre films.
The film follows Darren Turner (Bruening) a chaplain the United States Army who is sent over to serve in Iraq. While his faith in God propels him through his service and inspires his troops, he still faces the same consequences that his fellow soldiers face when he comes back to his house. Indivisible shows us Darren and his family’s relationship with God while also showcasing the internal struggle of those who suffer from PTSD after their service is complete. One of the things that is very interesting about this movie are the dynamics of each character and how they come to life. With topics that are incredibly difficult such as war, religion, and PTSD, each of these topics and characters needs to be handled very carefully or it will come off as either insensitive or cheesy. In Indivisible, religion is not seen as the be all end all, but merely a solution that certain people use to escape or feel comfortable. Even with Darren, we see a man who has believed in God all of his life and has made a career out of his beliefs and for the first time in his life he is struggling with these beliefs as they directly conflict with the horrors he has seen and experienced. It is interesting to see where many of these characters start and where they end up as a result of both Darren and God’s impact on their lives. Even without the religious element, PTSD is a very common problem with people who have served in Iraq and I felt as though the portrayal of these soldiers and their struggles was honest and real. Even the acting was acceptable, which is not something Pure Flix is known for. Bruening showed some truly dynamic range as someone who starts off as a hopeful believer of God who then slowly spirals into a distant, cold, depressed veteran who must find a way to overcome a new battle. The only actor who weighed the film down a bit was Drew as Darren’s wife Heather. There is one scene in particular Darren and Heather are having an argument and she has what is supposed to be a very intense and dramatic moment. Unfortunately, I think they could have gotten a better take from her as it came across as very goofy and inauthentic compared to the rest of the movie. While this is the main occurrence of her acting, it happened multiple times throughout the film and was partnered with a storyline that distracted instead of contrasted from the main story line. This could be due to a lack of experience from the director, but this is something that I believe will be easily cleaned up in future attempts.
Overall, this is the caliber of movie I expect from Pure Flix moving forward. They have now shown the general audience that they are capable of making a decent movie, so to go back to their old ways would be a massive disappointment. I believe if this film was handled by a larger, more experienced studio, we would have had a truly special film. Instead, we got a solid movie and a showing of significant progress from Pure Flix. It is up to them whether or not they choose to go down this path to prosperity or if they choose to stay in the pit of mediocrity. I hope they choose wisely.
Overall Score: 6/10