Finding Purpose film review

★★★

Directed by: #JohnReign

Written by: #JohnReign

Starring: #JohnReign, #ThomasStoops, #JamesSchultz, #AaronMccrumb

Film Review by: #DarrenTilby



25-years ago John Kayhill (Dave Campbell/John Reign) was a well-respected leader of men; a US sergeant during the Bosnian war. But now, after years of service, he's a down-on-his-luck fiftysomething who lives in a mobile home and can't even afford to pay his electric and water bill.


It's a familiar tale; the haunted, down-trodden veteran. And although we're more used to seeing the Vietnam war as the source of torment (Jarhead remains an outstanding exception to this rule), it's incredibly sobering that the same story can be transported to modern-day and still have relevance. This is, perhaps, the film's biggest achievement.


Focussing primarily on John's relationship with his mentally disabled brother, Rodney (Thomas Stoops) – for whom he cares – and fellow veterans, Spock (James Schultz) and Dozer (Aaron Mccrumb), Finding Purpose serves as a character study of these men, who have seemingly been abandoned by their country. And while there are a few issues with some of the performances (awkward dialogue delivery and the lack of an appropriate emotional response being the main culprits), the chemistry between the central group is never one of them.


The technical aspects of the film are a bog-standard affair. And while competent throughout, there are moments in the film that are made jarring by its low production values: the beginning, a flashback scene to John leading his squad through an ambush, for example, looks painfully cheap, and would have been better served as a series of short, blurry flashbacks instead. There's also a slight problem with the editing in places, as some scenes do linger a little too long, or cut away a little too quickly. All in all, though, this wasn't a huge problem.


In spite of the film's problems (not least the contrived finale), there's much to enjoy and digest here. At its core is a heart-warming and poignant story of brotherhood and fellowship, which also touches upon contemporary social-political issues. At almost 100-minutes in length, parts of the film do feel drawn-out, but there's some solid and genuine storytelling here to enjoy and ponder. Finding Purpose is well worth a look.