© Kinostar

Semper Fi
U.K./U.S.A. 2019

Opening 9 Jul 2020

Directed by: Henry Alex Rubin
Writing credits: Sean Mullin, Henry Alex Rubin
Principal actors: Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Finn Wittrock, Arturo Castro, Beau Knapp

It is 2005 in small town Bridgewater, New York: conservative, Christian, near the Canadian border. Callahan (Jai Courtney) works as a policeman, but presently enjoys free time at the bowling alley with his friends Jaeger (Finn Wittrock), Snowball (Arturo Castrol), and Milk (Beau Knapp). His younger half-brother, Oyster (Nat Wolff), resides with him, until he organizes his life; he would like to work as a cook and practices his menus on his brother. The five guys hang out, enjoy friendly fistfights with each other, and talk about the rare girlfriend. They serve in the Marine military reserves.

Eight months later Oyster is involved in another wrangle among men and accidently causes the death of one. Callahan, serious about his responsibility in the police force, arrests him. Oyster is sentenced to prison; before Call can protest and begin proceedings to prove his brother’s innocence, he and his friends are called to duty and shipped to Iraq. This leads to parallel scenes in prison and on the battlefield, which, unsurprisingly, are equally disturbing.

This is definitely a “guy” film, with one small role for Leighton Meester, who plays girlfriend Clara. Masculinity is all present and influences daily decisions. Here, men cannot seem to converse without physically butting around; they enjoy their Marine uniforms. What could leak more testosterone than a men’s prison and male Marines in action? Tattoos are popular. Callahan has the words “semper fidelis” tattooed on his arms; it means “always faithful” and is a slogan popular with the US Marines. So, get some guys together and see the film. And even if this should not be your type of film for fun, here you will have the chance to become acquainted with interesting actors, ages 26 to 36, from Australia, Guatemala, and the USA. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.