The Recruiter, a documentary that airs tonight on HBO, follows Sgt. First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in US Army history, and four of his high-school recruits. The film, which takes place in a small Louisiana town, exposes the challenges facing Army recruiters, who find it harder and harder to convince young Americans to serve their country. Viewers also get an inside look into the excitement and anxiety felt by new Army recruits and their families as basic training and the inevitable overseas tour draws closer.
I had the pleasure of already watching The Recruiter. To find out what I thought of the documentary,
From my point of view, the film offers an authentic depiction of Army recruiting without furthering a political agenda. Most of the recruits portrayed come from tough family environments; one girl, Lauren, even faced time living on the streets before joining. The Army offers an opportunity to gain respect, self-purpose, benefits, and financial stability in exchange for intense physical demands, decreased personal freedom, and the risk of death in war. But not all recruits find themselves with a lack of financial security or job opportunities. Sgt. Usie also recruits Matt, an honor student whose mom is a teacher and dad is a lawyer. With an air of invincibility, Matt enters special-forces training in search for adventure and service to country.
The recruiter — Sgt. Usie's — radiates his dedication and passion for his mission to serve. The movie does well to show the benefits military service brings to those living a tough life, but it does so while displaying the painful sacrifices in plain light. The film is especially powerful for those who do not have a personal tie to the military or the wars being fought because viewers get to know the young recruits before they leave for Iraq.
Do you plan on watching The Recruiter?