MENDING THE LINE
(director/writer: Joshua Caldwell; screenwriter: Stephen Camelio; cinematographer: Eve Cohen; editor: Will Torbett; music: Bill Brown; cast: Brian Cox (Ike Hendrickson), Patricia Heaton (Dr. Burke), Sinqua Walls (John Colter), Perry Mattfeld (Lucy), Chris Galust (Kovacs), Wes Studi (Harrison), Irene Bedard (Mrs. Redcloud); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Kelly McKendry/Scottt MacLeod/Carl Effenson/Joshua Caldwell/Stephen Camelio; Blue Fox Entertainment; 2022)
“I couldn’t have been more bored than if I were actually fishing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Director/writer Joshua Caldwell (“Infamous”/”Negative”) shoots a meaning well but sentimental formulaic story of combat vets bonding and healing their war wounds as they are fly fishing in rural Livingston, Montana. It’s co-written by Stephen Camelio. I couldn’t have been more bored than if I were actually fishing.
The U.S. marine John Colter (Sinqua Walls) was injured by an I.E.D. in Afghanistan, as he led his platoon into an ambush. He’s treated for his thigh injury and a concussion in a VA hospital in a small town in Montana, while also suffering from PTSD, an imagined guilt trip over his combat mission and a new drinking problem incurred during his rehab. His doctor, Dr. Burke (Patricia Heaton), also treats Ike Hendrickson (Brian Cox), a Vietnam War veteran and also a marine, who spends his days fly fishing. Dr. Burke suggests that Colter join the elderly Ike by the river and to learn fly fishing as a form of therapy to heal his mental wounds.
We are told that treatment for war wounds doesn’t always have to be with meds.
Ike gets Colter to do voluntary clean-up work at the sporting goods store that sells the fishing gear. Meanwhile a secretive, sad-eyed, visiting librarian to the V.A. center, Lucy (Perry Mattfeld), who lost her son in the war, is a volunteer who reads to the vets. At the suggestion of Dr. Burke, she joins the men in fishing as therapy to cure her ills.
The pacing is very slow and the story couldn’t be duller, but at least Brian Cox, a really fine actor, is around to make sure you’re still awake to see if Colter can be healed by fishing (as we’re reminded not everyone can).
REVIEWED ON 6/13/2023 GRADE: C+