Synopsis by Mark Deming
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States Army experienced a spike in their enlistment figures, as many people joined the military to serve their country in a time of need. Just what they found in the Army is the focus of Army of One, a documentary by filmmaker Sarah Goodman which follows the very different paths of three new recruits. Sara Miller was a college graduate with a degree in dance who had moved to New York City to find a career; disillusioned and looking for direction, she joined the Army hoping to prove to her father that she wasn't a failure, though she found herself questioning the wisdom of America's military presence in Iraq when she was assigned combat duty. Nelson Reyes was a high-school dropout who grew up in the South Bronx and figured the Army had to be an improvement over gang life, though he soon bristled against the harsh discipline of basic training. And Thaddeus Ressler was working as a broker on the Chicago Stock Exchange when he joined the Army looking to dish out some payback after the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately, the Army was not impressed with his fighting skills, and a new career of driving trucks and cleaning latrines sent him into a deep depression that Ressler self-medicated with alcohol. The first feature film from Goodman, Army of One was originally screened under the title Build Me Up, Break Me Down.
army, AWOL (Absent Without Leave), depression, disenchantment, dropout, enlistment, Iraq, military, recruit [soldier], stockbroker, training, war