Fray (NR)

Drama 95 min. April 18, 2014
By Michael Nordine
March marked the first month in more than a decade that no U.S. soldiers were killed in action, but the suicide rate among veterans continued to climb. As Fray puts it, "the battlefield isn't the only place a soldier becomes a casualty." It's set entirely at home, but it's still a war movie -- or, more precisely, postwar.

Recently discharged Marine Justin (Bryan Kaplan) lives in a minimally furnished studio apartment, shows up to class when he isn't busy cleaning up debris at a local factory, and generally keeps to himself. The first time we hear him speak, it's to shout through the wall at some feuding neighbors whose conflict has continued into the small hours of the night. This isn't the first sign that loud noises set him off, and it won't be the last. The main strength of writer-director Geoff Ryan's film is its quietude; too many movies exploring the neither-nor status occupied by vets whose experiences "over there" have altered their ability to function back home turn shrill in order to get their point across. Though some of the dialogue between Justin and his opinionated teacher (Marisa Costa) is a little too direct, and their key emotional scene escalates much too quickly, the flaws fall away once you see the look in Justin's eye as the person interviewing him for a job at a dairy bar says the establishment turns into "kind of a battlefield" during the summer.
Geoff Ryan Bryan Kaplan, Marisa Costa, Wes Harris, Catherine Johnson Geoff Ryan Jodi Redmond Spork Productions


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