[REVIEW] Indivisible: Taking the strain
Whatever else soldiers may understand about God, they get the idea of sacrifice – probably a good deal more clearly than those who pursue other careers.
Last month, stories about participants in the Invictus Games also reminded those without a military background that many returned servicemen and women struggle to reintegrate into society. The wounds they carry may be physical, but they’ll definitely be psychological.
And whether you have faith or not, Indivisible is a very helpful window into this difficult reality of life as a soldier – particularly after returning home. It is also a story of faith challenged, discovered and renewed.
Chaplain in action
Indivisible is based on the true story of military chaplain Darren Turner, his family and the soldiers he cared for while on deployment in Iraq in 2007. He goes on deployment fresh out of basic training, even though the head chaplain knows this isn’t ideal, because the army has a huge shortage of people to send. Doubtless, this is still true today.
Turner believes he is called to this ministry, so is prepared to go for the 15-month stint. His wife Heather supports him 100 per cent, believing she is also called to support the families of those left behind.
The stark reality of the task ahead of them is soon apparent as we’re shown the threads of other soldiers’ stories. A family in shreds, the angry husband locked out of the house. A young mum dreading her husband’s departure, worried she won’t cope alone. And an officer and single mum leaving the son she’s struggling to connect with in the care of her mother.
Not only this, the commander of the battalion Turner supports in Iraq makes it clear that soldiers’ marriages are disintegrating at an alarming rate.
Where does he start? How can he support them effectively and gain their trust? And how will his own marriage stand the test of 15 months of separation, with all the experiences, fears and demands on time and faith he and Heather will have while they’re apart?
One of the great strengths of the film, apart from the excellent performances, is the matter-of-fact way the story is told. There’s no sugar coating and no heroics. Life in Iraq is tough, and so is life at home in its own way. When Turner comes home a different person, knocked sideways by post-traumatic stress disorder, the struggle becomes one for survival – whether that be his own, or his and Heather’s marriage. The gulf between them is enormous, as is his expectations of God during his time in the Middle East when compared to the Father’s plans.
A central theme throughout the movie is the picture from Ephesians 6 of putting on and being protected by the armour of God – and learning what this really means.
Indivisible has plenty of challenges for believers and non-believers alike, and is relevant in so many ways in this stress- and fear-filled world. It’s well worth seeing.
The film releases on November 1 and is showing at selected Events Cinemas for a short time only. See fiveloavesmedia.com for screening details.