"In the almost 30 years since returning from my second tour of duty in Vietnam, I've consciously avoided "Vietnam flicks." Time and again, I was told by others that these were either hopelessly superficial or hopelessly biased -- and usually both. Based on a tip, I bought "In Country" some time again and have finally gotten around to watching it. My reaction is that, among films of the "post-Vietnam" genre, "In Country" is probably as good and true as anything that's likely to come out of Hollywood. Both the sentimentalism and the GI-bashing are admirably minimized. The plot is a little thin but still a good one, and the characters are likeable and reasonably credible. Bruce Willis is superb. As the Big Name, he could almost be forgiven for stealing every scene. And yet, perhaps because of an empathy for Vets of the type he represents, he seems to understand that "stealing scenes" is the very last thing a troubled Vietnam veteran would typically do. The casting of the English girl Emily Lloyd as Samantha was a stoke of genius. I'm not sure if there are many real girls like "Sam"; but if there are, they must be very like the Emily Lloyd character. Lloyd convinced me that Sam cares deeply. Moreover, I think that young Emily must be one of the prettiest girls ever to star in a film. If you're a vet from 'Nam, convinced that Hollywood has nothing good to say about you, please give "In Country" a chance. If you're not a vet, try the film anyway (and what a shame the movie isn't available on DVD!). You'll see two fine actors at the top of their form. Also, you just might learn something."
A Simple Movie With a Powerful Message
D. Brown | 04/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In Country is one of my all-time favorite movies. The plot to the movie is simple enough--a teenage girl who's just graduated from high school is wanting to find out more about the Vietnam War and about her father who died in the war before she was born. The movie quickly becomes so much more. You find yourself truly caring about these characters and what they went through in Vietnam. Bruce Willis does an exceptional job playing the young girl's "mentally alienated" uncle. The movie is really about the importance of family and the bonds that last beyond the grave. The ending is so powerful that it leaves me in tears every time."
The best movie about vietman that has been made
David W. Lee | Edmond, OK USA | 04/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This highly underrated movie is a treasure. I have watched it at least a dozen times. Emily Lloyd is unforgettable as the daughter of a soldier who was killed in Vietnam before she was born. Her post-high school search for a post-death relationship with him makes this film is unbearably moving and powerful. It is inexplicable why it is so unknown. Bruce Willis is at his best as a subtly and irreparably damaged Viet vet. The closing scene with the Vietnam Memorial tears me apart every time. This movie is the other anthem to our Viet vets.David W. Lee Edmond, OK"
Good movie, lackluster DVD
Cubist | United States | 03/03/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those movies best seen on a lazy Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do. It is a thoughtful character study that creeps up on you and really gets under the skin.Bruce Willis wisely downplays all of his usual acting schtick (much like he did in Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys). He delivers a truly heartfelt performance as an emotionally damaged Vietnam veteran. Pay close attention to what he does in this movie -- he uses his very expressive face to convey a wide spectrum of emotions that brings across the inner turmoil that is going on in his character.In Country is told from the perspective of Emily Lloyd's character. She is a naive, young girl who wants to know more about the war that took her father away from her and can't understand why her father's friends are so unwilling to talk about their experiences. This is her best performance of her, so-far, short career.But, let's be honest, this film belongs to Willis and deservedly so. He's the kind of actor who needs a strong director to reign him in and Norman Jewison is that kind of a filmmaker. He really gets a wonderful performance out of Willis that is wrenching, funny, sad and everything in between.This an excellent character-driven film set in small-town America much like the equally underappreciated Robert De Niro-Ed Harris drama, Jacknife. In Country examines how war not only effects those who fought in it but also the people around them after they return home.Sadly, the DVD has nothing in the way of extras (a commentary track by Jewison or the book's author, Bobbie Ann Mason, would have been nice) and is also presented in pan and scanned mode. Too bad."
Not Perfect, not original, overly sentimental, and yet...
D. Brown | Hyattsville, MD USA | 02/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...the overall effect of the film overcomes its faults. To be blunt, you need a heart of stone not to be touched by it. Bruce Willis can be a devastating actor when he wants to, and here, he clearly wants to. You would think there would be a surplus of films about war orphans, but this is one of the few. The fact that it is a young girl adds to the poignancy and multi-layered dimensions. Got lumped in with the other Vietnam films of the time like Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Hamburger Hill, when in fact it has only a few wartime scenes, and is in fact more like the brilliant Coming Home."