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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

The Things We Leave Behind

Homefront (2013) on IMDb

Plot Overview

The camera framed through an electronic viewfinder gives a partial glimpse of an inter­ro­gator—described as ugly—asking Pvt. Aaron Phillips (Markus Porter) in a menacing voice, “Where is the ammunition?” When he doesn't tell him, he gets bitch slapped and then thrown into a holding cell with Lt. Steven Hill (Jeremiah Johnson) & Sgt. Bryan Monroe (Seth Adair) to stew in their own juices. These other two have been there for days inter­rupted occasionally by a visit from the goons to take one of them out to be roughed up.

They get to reminiscing about each one's last day before deployment, which constitutes the bulk of the film and consists of three small town soap operas delivered in sequence (interrupted by an occasional visit by the goons.) Although my DVD didn't have a scene menu per se, each of the soap operas was preceded by an establishing shot making it easy to scroll to. I was able to take a break between them.


Back to the present, Sgt. Monroe is taken and asked, “Just tell us what we want to know,” but his lips are sealed, so he gets bitch slapped. He's returned and the other two being Christians try to convert him. Then the enemy comes for Lt. Hill and ratchets up the inter­ro­gation. Besides slapping him the inter­ro­gator brandishes a pistol at him and asks, “Just tell me where they are. Just point to the map.” He's starting to get desperate which could mean either they are about to lose the war or they are going to start executing the prisoners.


The GIs' refusal to talk means they're not snitches along the lines of, (Prov. 11:13) “A tale­bearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”

family together(Prov. 11:14) “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” The multitudinous advice of family and friends constitutes a safety net for the boys about to deploy, along the lines of the inscription in Steven's pocket Bible passed down from his great grandfather: “The greatest hope for safety … is in the loving arms of God.” The counselors are standing in for God's arms of support.

Steve had a question for his Pastor Bob (Timothy Paul Taylor) concerning the words in his Bible, “Thou shalt not kill.” He asked him, “What does that mean in war?” I don't want to steal the pastor's thunder in the opinion he expressed or delve into the contro­versy he alluded to, but I shall give a direct answer to the specific question.

The verb to kill in the Hebrew means to commit murder. The verb in, you shall not is gram­matically an imperative making it a definite no-no. The subject thou in the King James Version (KJV) dialect—inherited from any previous English version and beyond—is the second person singular pronoun, i.e. “you” as applied to an individual, not to “you” as a group. There­fore it wouldn't apply to the collective fighting a war, not unless one wanted to extrapolate some­how. But if the lieutenant after having surrendered, i.e. become a non-combatant, were to seize the pistol within his reach and shoot and kill his inter­rogator, that might be considered a violation of that command although doing it with his troop in war would not be.

Steve addressed collective action when answering his daughter Liz (Gretchen Bush)'s question why he had to go away on his “other job.” He replied that from Galatians we are told to, “Bear (ye) one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” He was doing his part, because, “There are some people trying to do some bad things, and I've gotta stop them.” Liz can do her part by helping around the house while he's gone. His wife Carol (Sheila Mudd Baker) was advised that she'll be temporarily a single mom needing “to accept help from people around you.” For that matter Aaron's dad had to hire another hand for spring planting once his son shipped out. The whole movie largely dealt with this collective responsibility including the home front during war­time. Aaron's fiancée's brother Paul raised concerns whether it was a just war, so there is that too. This group responsibility was addressed in the KJV dialect above by the plural pronoun ye rather than the singular pronoun thou. Scholar Joshua What­mough writes that, “Within the territory of a language, wide deviations of dialect may be found … Such deviations disturb communications, they do not completely disrupt it. And they are, in all known languages, past and present, a constant feature, like archaisms (e.g. in religious or legal terminology) …” (51, 28).

This dynamic was intimated by King Solomon in, (Eccl. 4:13-14) “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” The KJV dialect is one poor in word currency yet wise in application deriving from the child­hood or our language, while the more modern version dialects are “an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished” for their dominance in the churches, their faulty constructions, the aged complexity our language has evolved into, and their unproven acceptance. “He that is born in his kingdom becoming poor” refers to the normal attrition frequency of usage of words over time, while “coming out of prison to reign” refers to unclean common speech adapted to sacred literature, the way prison lingo doesn't fit in with polite society. As author Dan Ames writes:

Men like that, they don't value life. Prison teaches them to look at everything differently. (29)

Our modern English dialects in which modern English Bibles are printed don't make a distinction between you in the singular and you in the plural and so can confuse the reader about individual and corporate responsibility.

Production Values

” (2013) was written and directed by Chip Rossetti. It stars Brenda Jo Reutebuch, Timothy Paul Taylor, and Cindy Maples. Maples did some good acting playing the ex-wife of the sergeant, as well as did the woman playing the grand­mother of the lieutenant and John D. Carver who played the old guy in a bar conversing with the sergeant. As for the rest I wouldn't advise them to hold their breath waiting for any casting call based on this movie. The main female parts of mother and wife of servicemen were played by actresses who didn't have screen presence so much as physical presence galore. We would charitably call them chunky. Brenda Jo Reutebuch wasn't all that objection­able puttering around at the opposite end of the kitchen, but Sheila Mudd Baker was part of these round robin discussions requiring close­ups. Her form filled the wide screen with little room to spare. Maples, how­ever, playing the ex-wife was slender (“You're looking good”) which we suppose helped her character find a new guy soon after her divorce. She was easier on the eyes (though not on the ears) than the other two. She'd suffered from separation anxiety. The other two wives & moms had no obvious faults aside from their weight. I suspect there might have been some method to the director doling out the parts that way.

The men—apart from a regular joe in the bar—were all Mr. Sensitive types. If the actors playing them weren't chosen for their acting ability, then they could have been chosen for their ability to cry on demand.

Aaron's new fiancée Maggie Jessup was played by a very pale-skinned Misty Sisco who when she was arm-hugged by her ethnically dark-skinned father, it couldn't help but draw attention to the contrast. That's no big deal, but when her second generation immigrant brother Paul Jessup (Nathaniel Todaro) starts spouting off about the U.S. needing to mind its own business over­seas, I don't think the cause of ethnic diversity was aided by this film.

This was a faith-based movie awarded the Family Approved Seal by the Dove Foundation. The closest we got to a swear word was the soldiers calling the hell­hole they were held in “hell.” Their torture was handled with kid gloves and we saw nothing from it worse than heavy breathing and/or a fainting spell. A couple Marines had some drinks together, but else­where there was a discussion on not letting it become a problem. The starring couple wisely waited five years before getting engaged, using that time to explore personality compati­bility more than the physical, which is as it should be.

pocket BibleThe pocket Bible used as a prop was pristine to the point of never having been cracked, not like the one said to be passed down through four generations who took it into battle for their constant reading companion. The inscription in it was printed using a ball point pen, not the fountain pen cursive I've seen in similar Bibles. Looks like some­body just bought a New Testament off the shelf rather than acquire an old article.

The cameraman didn't waste time with trick shots, unusual angles, moving the camera around, or even aesthetic­ally optimized framing. He just more or less centered his subject and let it run. The back­grounds were busy with clutter. The directional mike must have been aimed at the ground, because we were treated to heavy clumping across the wood floor, gravel crunching in the drive, and fall leaves crinkling under­foot. Was that to portray the subjects as solidly grounded with their feet on the ground? Or did some­one just forget to raise the mike? Ah, secrets of the trade.

Several times the subdued indoor lighting couldn't compete with some outdoor sunny lighting bleeding into the frame, so there was a washout.

flute and drumThe musical background was laid down piece­meal by instrument. Some­times it would be piano, other times violins, and later brass. It seemed like a whole orchestra was hired but when every­one wanted to do a solo, they were freely accommodated. Is it orchestral music when the orchestra never plays together? We'll pass this off as rinky-dink music.

I will say the director was clever in places. He had a Marine Corps ball cap sitting on the counter before we were introduced to the veteran Marine at the bar. The shot of the departing military courier was identical to an earlier one of the pastor walking away, which would signify the one would take up where the other left off on the home front. This director shows good potential, so when he becomes famous you can boast you'd seen his earlier work.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

After seeing this movie, I felt like I could use a stiff drink … and I don't even drink. My recom­men­dation, should you feel you really need to see it, is to prepare to fortify your­self after­wards should it turn out not to be what you expected.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated but received a seal of approval. Special effects: Wake up and smell the 1990s technology. Video Occasion: Not all at once. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Two stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Ames, Dan. Dead Wood. Copyright © 2015 by Dan Ames. San Bernardino: Slogan Books, 2018. Print.

Whatmough, Joshua. Language A Modern Synthesis. New York: Mentor Books, 1957. Print.