Film Review: Bastard's Road
By Lauren Bray
Bastard's Road follows a 6,000-mile walking journey of a Marine veteran looking to make sense of war and to reconnect with his Marine brothers and families of those who didn't make it home.
The documentary follows veteran Jonathan Hancock who served in the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, also known as 2/4 or the "Magnificent Bastards." Hancock and his Battalion were quickly deployed following the attack on September 11, 2001, and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They suffered heavy casualties as the documentary informs us 1 out of every 4 soldiers were wounded or killed.
When Hancock returned home he struggled to adjust to everyday life. After a failed suicide attempt he checked himself into the VA hospital and learned he's not the only one struggling. Over 60,000 veterans committed suicide from 2008 to 2017, according to the film.
On September 11, 2015, Hancock left his home on the east coast with nothing but a backpack with a Marine Corps flag draped over it. He planned to walk throughout the United States until reaching the Marine Corps Base in Camp Pendleton near San Diego. Along the way, he meets up with fellow Marines he served with and Gold Star families of the men he knew that were killed in action.
Hancock discusses his own struggles and fears while encouraging his Marine brothers to do the same. The documentary depicts an honest portrayal of soldiers struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after losing friends and playing a part in an atrocious war. Through their struggles, you witness hope, love, hilarity, and success as these men come together to support one another.
Bastard's Road is a beautiful film giving a voice to veterans who so often feel alone and misunderstood. Bring a box of tissues while watching, you'll need it.