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Monday, November 14, 2016

'Smoke-Filled Lungs' VOD Vets in Distress

The recent Indican Pictures theatrical and VOD releases of the 2016 drama "Smoke-Filled Lungs" is a gritty urban drama that puts a face on both the plight of combat veterans and the life of lower-class black teens.

This winner of the Award for Best Film at the 2015 International Film Festival of World Cinema tells the tale of the road trip of disabled Gulf War veteran Edward and his teen nephew Michael to visit the grandfather of the former and great-grandfather of the latter. Writer/director Jason Cabell stars as Edward.

Michael's widowed mother/Edward's sister coerces the boys into hitting the road in response to the reaction of Michael to bullying getting him suspended. Momma feels that Michael needs a strong male influence and that getting out of the house will benefit Edward.

The trek predictably prompts our boys to bond in a manner that helps them understand the perspective of the other. Edward largely shows Micheal that he must toughen up, and Michael challenges the heavy use of prescription painkillers by Edward. One of the well-written and presented monologues of Edward further reveals the significance of the title of the film.

The drama that the pair encounter include a conflict with a very aggressive homeless man; humor relates to Edward not understanding the nature of using GPS to find roadside services.

Visiting their elder in the nursing home allows our leads to learn from his experience. Edward realizes that combat veterans have a long history of problems dealing with their physical and emotional injuries. Michael acquires the desired positive role model and learns about the civil rights movement. A reading of a poem over a montage of images from that era nicely illustrates this element of the film.

The boys from the the 'hood nicely act on their lessons from the road on returning home. The facts that this is neither drama-free nor Disneyfied ends the movie on an apt note.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Smoke" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.