“Man Down” Review ✦✦✧✧✧

28 March, 2017

Director: Dito Montiel
Screenwriters: Dito Montiel, Adam G. Simon
Director of Photography: Shelly Johnson
Shia LaBeouf, Jai Courtney, Kate Mara

Synopsis: Seeking the spiritual guidance of a friend who betrayed him during the War, a Marine desperately searches for a way to reconnect with his son while struggling to readjust to life away from Afghanistan.

Man Down Review:

A story that deserves to be told properly but one that’s barely able to keep its head above water, “Man Down” is a gloomy drama about stunted grief and paternal suffering in which a serviceman finds himself unable to return to the home he left behind after a series of shattering blows to his life take hold of his mind. Depicting a battle fought predominantly on the inside, the movie recreates the damage of war through stuffiness and soft focus, gluing us to the inside of a Marine’s brain as he unravels crushing truths about his newly altered existence.

Brought to life through weighty performances but thrown under the bus by dreadful storytelling and unkempt plotting, “Man Down” uses a very real veteran crisis to fuel its PTSD narrative as Shia LaBeouf acts his heart out as both father and military man, retaining the utmost seriousness in a highly demanding role. Although his public image has gradually become a meme for artistic lunacy, LaBeouf tries his absolute hardest to retain Hollywood composure in a role built around a soft-centred kind of virility that he so accurately symbolises but one that fails to give him the “Full Metal Jacket” type opportunity that he truly deserves.

Propagandising a little too soon and going bananas with metaphors, “Man Down” greys around the edges and doesn’t allow us a way to penetrate through the gloom as bridges crumble and an apocalypse takes over in a manner that rarely packs a true emotional punch. With an experimental structure and infuriating desire to spell out every twist and turn in its already predictable narrative, “Man Down” is neither an “I Am Legend” post-apocalypse melodrama nor a “Jarhead” military takedown. It’s an oddly matched piece of filmmaking with a level of confidence that far exceeds its overall IQ.


Review Date
Man Down