Indivisible (PG)

In A Word: Uplifting

Indivisible1

 Chaplain Darren Turner (Jason Bruening) baptises Specialist Lance Bradley (Tanner Stine) while on tour in Iraq. 

 

"This film is about God being with us in the good times and the bad; how challenges to our faith can led us to doubt and bring us teetering on the edge of disaster but how that may ultimately lead us to a deeper and more honest place in our relationship with God. The fact Indivisible is based on a true story makes it all that much more moving."

When US Army Chaplain Darren Turner was mobilised to spend 15 months on tour in Iraq as part of US President George W Bush's "surge" in 2007, he saw it as God’s calling, an opportunity to provide spiritual support to the men on the ground and share with them the faith that made him who he was. 

But what he didn’t count on was the physical, mental and spiritual toll serving in such a place would exact on him, the men that he served and the families that they’d left back home. Indivisible, based on a true story, is an exploration of Chaplain Turner's struggle.

Turner, who is played by Jason Bruening, finds his faith stretched beyond what he ever imagined possible as does his wife Heather (Sarah Drew) back home. Any naivety they had at the start of the tour is soon shattered when faced with the cold, hard reality of his service in a broken nation.

And while Turner thinks it's his time in Iraq that will be the hardest, it’s only when he returns back to the US that the full impact of what he’s experienced hits home, threatening to destroy his marriage, family and mental health.

Throughout the film there's a recurring motif of coins. Inscribed with Biblical verses from Ephesians six about putting on the “full armour of God”, Turner hands them out to any who will take them as a sign of their faith in God. And while he’s quick to say they’re not a “lucky charm”, Turner’s belief is shaken when one of those carrying one is killed and he’s forced to re-evaluate what the verses actually mean.

The film's writers, who include Cheryl McKay and Peter While as well as director David G Evans, effectively present the twin stories of Turner at war and the other Turner at home before bringing both strands together as Darren's tour ends. But telling these two stories at once does mean some sacrifices and as a result, scant attention is given to explore wider issues such as Turner’s call to serve in the military and any real explanation of why US troops were in Iraq.

Not as gritty as some recent war films, Indivisible nonetheless generally manages to avoid the mawkish sentimentality that can sometimes attach to US films dealing with faith and themes like serving in the military. That’s helped by the strength of the cast: Bruening and Drew (both from Grey’s Anatomy) both put in convincing performances and are backed by a well chosen cast of supporting actors.

The latter include Jason George as Turner's sceptical neighbour Major Michael Lewis, Tanner Stine as Specialist Lance Bradley and Skye P Marshall as Turner's assistant Sgt Shonda Peterson – all of whom are with Turner on tour – as well as Tia Mowry-Hardrict who plays Lewis’ wife Tonya and who becomes Heather’s close friend. Their stories are also told in part here and bring an extra dimension of richness to the film. 

This film is about God being with us in the good times and the bad; how challenges to our faith can lead us to doubt and bring us teetering on the edge of disaster but how that may ultimately lead us to a deeper and more honest place in our relationship with God. The fact Indivisible is based on a true story makes it all that much more moving.