Review: 22

Written and directed by Daniel Roy, co-written by Vanessa Yuille, Tom returns home after many combat tours only to find himself fighting another war from within. Starring: Clayne Crawford and Jen Nikolaisen.

The issue of post traumatic stress in the military is one that’s been touched upon in films like The Deer Hunter, Jacob’s Ladder and American Sniper, and it’s undoubtedly still a continually relevant problem. It’s a poignant and hefty topic to tackle, especially within a runtime of less than five minutes but Daniel Roy does a great job of cutting to the chase. Even without any context, you can immediately understand what the story here is, it’s overt but there is a form of balance. It’s dramatic and holds the essence of violence, trauma and struggle, but also holds itself from going too far.

Roy does well to show how easily the different elements of everyday life can trigger PTSD, to an almost unavoidable extent, creating a persistent state of unease and anxiety. The memory flashes throughout feel as though they’re following a slightly overused style, and could pull back, as they make their point easily. One of the more subtle points that it makes is the importance of taking a first step back into a non-conflict life. Especially as it’s almost entirely made with a singular shot, the transition and change in style to that one moment, has a lot to say.

Clayne Crawford also helps to keep things from evolving into melodramatic or overly aggressive territory, his performance has physicality but portrays a bigger range of emotions, than just anger and frustration. He taps into the classic elements you would expect from a performance such as this but brings a fresh edge and a sincere tension.

22 dives quickly and impactfully into the realm of mental health and trauma, it follows a similar path of those before it but keeps a sense of originality. Clayne Crawford leads the charge well, and easily creates a sympathetic, broken character but holds a touch of hope. Some of the aesthetic choices could use freshening up and following the old adage of less is more, but it has a relevant and poignant point to make.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

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