Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmaker Josh Fox offers a troubling look into the hearts and minds of American fighting men in this independent drama. Memorial Day opens with a bunch of college students and off-duty soldiers drinking and whooping it up at a beach party in Ocean City, MD, and as the liquor flows, the hijinks become less good-natured and more threatening until several women are raped by the men. We next catch up with the culprits when they're on patrol in Iraq, ferreting out insurgents and passing their spare time playing practical jokes and watching porn movies. The men are then assigned new duties as guards at a military prison, and much as they showed a troubling enthusiasm for assaulting women at home, they clearly enjoy heaping abuse on the prisoners they're supposed to watch until their actions become a clear parallel to the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib. Adapted from a theater piece by Fox and featuring actors from his International Wow Company, Memorial Day was created without the approval or participation of the United States military, though Iraq War veteran Jason Christopher Hartley was a technical advisor on the production.
Iraq, rape, soldier