Joanne Froggatt, best known for star turns in Coronation Street and Downton Abbey, gives an incredible performance as a soldier returning from Iraq with a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in an otherwise average film that has more troughs than peaks.
Bleak and laced throughout with dabs of domestic violence, In Our Name is a rare and unflinching look at the warzone that returning soldiers face when they arrive home with broken relationships, friendships stretched to breaking point and emotional troubles around every corner.
So often ignored by the media and the army in general, returning soldiers are left to cope alone with the things they have seen and done on the battlefield. In Our Name attempts to show the experiences of one young female soldier, Suzy, as she tries to adjust to life at home. Her husband, Mike, is also a soldier who shows signs of PTSD, and they have a child together who is confused by the sudden change in her parents’ personalities.
Mike looms large over the entire film, dominating Suzy in a way that is genuinely horrifying to watch. She is torn between her love for him and her family and her genuine fear of what he has become, and what secrets he hides from her. A scene in a taxi about three quarters of the way into the film is wonderfully representative of the two characters and their relationship in general, and so strong is Froggatt’s performance that, without words, she conveys a whole relationship’s worth of sadness through her eyes alone.
A very British film, super-realist and almost like London to Brighton in style and tone (without quite so much violence), In Our Name is a low-budget but impacting piece of true cinema that slightly loses it’s way towards the end, but still manages to just about keep it together and remain reasonably affecting.