“American Warfighter,” The New Indie film by Writer/Director, Jerry G. Angelo, chronicles the journey of a Navy Seal’s experience through PTSD, is nothing short of a miracle. It is a roller-coaster ride of tension, emotion, horror, and passion with a Hitchcockian mystery ending that will haunt you for many days to follow. Tragically beautiful, AmericanWarfighter lies somewhere between reality, a dream, and a nightmare far too close to the truth.
We begin with Rusty Whittenburg aka wolf-man, played with great compassion by Jerry G. Angelo, telling his daughter Olivia (beautifully played by Victoria Clare), a bedtime story. She is asking him questions about life after death when his wife, Vanessa (also well played by Carolina Castro), calls him to bed for the night.
When lights are out, we are suddenly dropped into what seems to be one of his tumultuous Navy Seal experiences. In stealth strategical combat we are with him while he works to protect the innocent and take out the enemy. To accomplish his mission he must rescue a particular young girl ( hauntingly played by Ryan Baumann). A girl who appears to be in grave danger. She happens to be the age of his daughter and is warning him of something. Of course, at this crucial moment, we are at once back in the bedroom as Rusty cries aloud from his waking sleep. Vanessa carefully comforts him as the storm passes over. It was only a nightmare; one of many.
The exposition continues with many carefully positioned stages through Rusty’s current and past life as a civilian and in combat. We learn more about his character through his Dad, Mr. Wittenburg ( boldly played by Scott Engotti), as well as who his fellow soldiers, neighbors, friends are. We are comforted as to how they reflect the American fabric. They are all brothers and sisters raising families in the midst of being at the ready to fight.
While at a family birthday party Rusty’s best friend Lucas, another Navy Seal (well played by Joshua Santana), takes him aside and asks him to “see someone” about the nightmares. No sooner than he agrees, they are all summoned to another mission to rescue an American POW. The goodbyes are passionate and quick as off they go on what will be a crucial mission that will change Rusty’s life forever. From here, Angelo and his crew take you by the throat and do not let go.
Amrican Warfighter was cleverly shot in convincing yet economic locations by cinematographer, Daniel Luke Finch, and fashioned with a score tweaked perfectly by sound engineer and composer, Logan Byers, then tightly edited by, Joe Booroojian. keeping you so perched at the edge of your seat, at times you have to remember to breathe.
The supporting cast all turn in excellent ensemble performances. You will recognize many seasoned character actors here, Paul Logan, Isaac C. Singleton Jr, Michael King, Jennifer Marshall, David Robbins, Tom Crisp, Ceo Tapia, Michael King, Kodi Saint Angelo, Mindy Robinson, Peter Chen, Said Faraj, Walter Taboyoyong, Jeff Roncone, E.R. Ruiz, Frank Powers, Mustafa Etzien, Fahim Fazl, Amir Levi, Donnie Blankenship, Mo Kelly, Sach Touchon, and New comers, Andrew Ortega, and Ryan Baumann; just to name a few. For full cast credits, please click: http://www.imdb.com/title/
There have s been many films that offer an insight to what a soldier goes through during and after war. But very few come this close to dealing with the internal, mental, emotional, and spiritual consequences of soldiers suffering from PTSD. Not since Johnny Got His Gun and Jacob’s Ladder, have we seen such an intimate view of a soldier’s repercussions having suffered and returned from a war through their own eye.
AmericanWarfighter is timely, relevant, passionate, and transformative. Jerry G. Angelo shows us his passion and love not only for classic war movies but also his deep concern and appreciation for our dedicated veterans who are often left troubled or worse, forgotten.
As for the mystery of AmericanWarfighter, It ‘s hard to say whether this is a dream, a nightmare, a sad reality or all of the above. But what it is undeniably is a success.