PTSD: The Walking Wounded is a collection of testimonies by unrecognized heroes. The ones that survived, or were close to those who perished, and who definitely should be part of the agenda we need to build together. Because this is exactly what you can get from films like these: the drive to be part of a vehicle of empathy that can help those who need it the most.
This being said, it’s very hard to separate the importance of a specific film from the quality of its final product. There are some you can’t help but admire in regards to the intention, but they’re ultimately films that don’t comply with a set of rules and structural guidelines of its genre. Sure, it’s a documentary, but it’s also an opportunity to portray a horrific reality through conversations that go from the sad to the hopeful.
Whether or not you think PTSD: The Walking Wounded is a fascinating documentary, think of the last time a film made you want to lend a hand to people you don’t know. In my case, I’m from another society that’s not even remotely close to “suffering” the effects of war. And yet, Ash Patiño´s film awakened the need to at least listen to those around me.
Patiño directs a very basic film about four subjects who each have their own way of coping and moving on. Some of their testimonies are more optimistic than others. But they all hold the sharp message of why suicide (and social anxiety, and depression, etc) is a reality we need to face and attack in its very core.
The issue is a complex one, considering the film doesn’t approach the very nature of the act behind the addressed situation. War is a monster of uncalculated magnitude. One that shifts its shape and yet performs efficiently in the minds of those who suffer it and fight it. PTSD: The Walking Wounded isn’t an anti war film in its commentary, but the final statement, one that goes beyond patriotism, has to do with something far more universal and human.
However, there’s a certain scene in which a woman describes the collective reaction to the issue of mental health in war veterans. How people willfully degrade a human condition seems unthinkable and yet what she says chilled me to the bone. This is the film’s statement on how war is a toxic and invisible subject to those who stay behind.
PTSD: The Walking Wounded is basic but it works to deliver its blunt message. It’s full of optimism, and hope, and realism in every sense of the word.
Lately, I’ve had the chance to see a couple of films that tell stories of a current set of mental conditions that are far more relevant than we think. From PTSD to teen angst, there is a problem here, and we need to talk about it. The cost of not doing it is bigger than the effort that needs to be applied to at least talking about it.
So, give this one a chance and stay until the credits. This is important.