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Movie Review: Sgt. Will Gardner

A 2019 movie featuring an amazing motorcycle trip by a War Veteran

Ujjwal Dey

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This is a very different movie that just happens to have a motorcycle trip. 


The movie "Sgt Will Gardner" is about - you guessed it - a war veteran named Sgt. Will Gardner. He is back home in United States of America - the land of the free. But he is jobless and living on the streets. He seems to have severe PTSD which he is coping with the help of reading books and consuming cheap alcohol. Sgt. Will seems to have become an alcoholic but he has his wits about him. He is still honorable and still respects the uniform he sees on a fellow homeless veteran. 


Sgt. Will did some work for which he got shortchanged. We see police breakdown his motel room door, dragging him out of the bathroom where he had locked himself in. From then on the story gets a lot better and more engaging. 


There are constant flashback scenes to the war zone. He survived but it seems like his survival back in USA is unlikely. 


Through chance, he is on the road on a Harley-Davidson. The trip is most likely to run away from himself. He lost brothers in the war but now he is alone in the battlefield of life - a wrecked soul seeking peaceful shores on a motorcycle. 


On the road to self-discovery he passes through Arizona and Texas, living in more motel rooms and quenching the fire in his belly by drowning himself in whiskey. He is traumatized by the war but worse is the treatment he receives from fellow Americans. "Thank you for your service" with a middle finger instead of a salute (or a handshake). 


It is a two hour movie and may seem slow paced to those watching big budget fast paced action movies. Hell, soon there is another Rambo movie by Sylvester Stallone to be released on September 20th this year (“Rambo Last Blood”). But if you stick with this movie, it will surprise you. 


This is a must watch for anyone who has done active military service and been in a war zone. 


On the road Sgt. Will meets a Texas woman who mistakes him to be a Hollywood actor. She has quit her job and hit the open road to get away from the miserable cubicle lifestyle she pursued most of her life. There is a brief romance which seems to be a case of mistaken identity.


Sgt. Will Gardner seems to be failing at the mission called "life" but his moral compass seems to be capable of repairing its direction from time to time. His nickname is "Ghost" but he is the one haunted by many tragic memories. Sgt. Will is suffering from TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury - due to being around explosions. He lost a friend who follows him in his mind and spirit. 


Starring Max Martini and also featuring Robert Patrick with Gary Sinise, the writer-director-actor Martini has pledged 30% of the film's proceeds to three charities that support veterans suffering from TBI, PTSD, and veteran homelessness. Actor Gary Sinise has already helped many war veterans over the years through his charity “Gary Sinise Foundation” which was one of the benefactors from the proceeds of this film.


After a series of setbacks, Sgt. Will Gardner goes on a cross-country motorcycle journey to revisit his life and his family – his ex-wife and his son. The troubled Iraq War veteran struggling to reintegrate into society sets out on a cross-country journey with the hope of reuniting with his young son. He has sustained TBI during a bombing that he and his platoon suffered while in combat. His injuries make it difficult for him to reintegrate into society so after a series of setbacks, he goes on a spirited motorcycle journey across America to pick up pieces of his life lost since combat.


There isn’t a happy ending to this movie but it helps raise awareness about the desperate condition of America’s finest who served in the military for their nation.


Cast: Max Martini, Elisabeth Rohm, Lily Rabe, Dermot Mulroney, Robert Patrick, JoBeth Williams, Luis Bordeonada, Leo Martini, Gary Sinise


Director-screenwriter: Max Martini


Producers: Michael Hagerty, Max Martini


Check it out if you are looking for a change of pace in cinema and open to smaller budget movies that tell the everyday story for a good cause.

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Reader Comments

I am a Navy Vet with no disability except ringing ears and the VA has been taking care of all my medical needs, since I went on social security in 2009. I was never in a war zone but the councilors who helped me sign up kept asking if I had nightmares or any ptsd signs. I know several of my old friends who are getting it. They are from the Vietnam era and didn’t even think to apply till they had been out for 30 years or so. I don’t understand why we have homeless vets except by their own choice.

Bill May
Nashville , TN
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Editor Response Thanks brother. I'm going in for a hearing soon.

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