James has personally defused 873 bombs and has a mere 38 days left in his rotation before returning home to his wife, Connie (Lost’s Kate, Evangeline Lilly) and baby boy. Sanborn and Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) are quick to judge James as either suicidal or just another adrenaline junkie redneck. While Eldridge has been seeing a shrink, it appears at times as if Sanborn is homicidal and has been out in the heat far too long.
James eventually does come to needing an escape as well after he buys a bootleg video from a young Iraqi boy who calls himself “Beckham” (Christopher Sayegh). Later, when James discovers a young boy lying on a table after what appears to be great amount of torture he is convinced that the boy on the table is Beckham. Even later in the film when James runs into Beckham on the streets of Baghdad he’s not convinced whether the boy is really alive or not and pretends to ignore him.
Once James is back home, whether trying to decide on a cereal, aloofly approaching his wife and son as if they’re strangers meeting for the first time, or continually droning on to Connie about war stories, it’s abundantly clear that James has a home and he is not at it. When he sits down to have a one-sided heart to heart with his baby boy about how the things he thinks he loves the most may one day only be three or less it drives the point home that where James belongs, at least mentally, is on his own turf, back in Iraq.
By now, most will have either managed to see the film theatrically when it was released or are seeing it again or for the first time on home video. If you are in virgin territory here, congratulations, you are in for a rocking good time. One of the biggest reason for my lowered score upon revisiting what I originally thought was one of the best war films in years comes down to three things: supporting characters, pacing, and the way too long run time.