Film Review: Flashback (dir by Claude Desrosiers)


movie-hp-promo-flashback

No, that image above is not my sister‘s latest discovery for artwork of the day.  Instead, it’s the only promo image that I’ve been able to find for a film called Flashback.  Flashback premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network on January 31st.  Because I was on a road trip when it originally aired, I had to set the DVR to record it.  I watched the film earlier today and I jotted down a few notes for my review.  Then, because I desperately needed the space on my DVR, I erased the recording.  I assumed that I would be able to get any other details I needed from the film’s imdb page.

Big mistake.

Unlike some obscure films, Flashback actually does have a page on the imdb.  But there’s next to no information about the movie!  There’s a brief (but surprisingly accurate) plot description.  Three members of the cast are listed.  Jeffrey Roy is listed as being the adr mixer.  But otherwise, no director is listed.  No producer.  No writers.  It’s very odd.

So, after discovering that the imdb was going to be little to no help, I decided to go to MyLifetime.com and look up the film.  And guess what?  The MyLifetime page does not list a director either!

After doing a few more fruitless Google searches, I quickly looked through my notes.  Maybe I had jotted down the director’s name.  Of course, I did not.

The lesson here is not to take the imdb for granted as a resource.  Especially when it comes to fairly obscure Lifetime films.

I would especially like to be able to name the director and writer responsible for Flashback because it actually tells a very heartfelt story and attempts to deal with a serious issue.  The films tell the story of Samantha (Roxanne McKee), a soldier with the National Guard who has just returned from Iraq.  While Samantha struggles to maintain an outward normalcy, she is actually suffering from severe PTSD.  (When we first see her, she’s holding a gun and hiding in a bathroom stall while her friends throw her a welcome home party.)  In Iraq, Samantha was involved in a friendly fire incident that led to the death of two soldiers.  Back home, she finds herself being stalked by another soldier (Tim Rozon), who blames her for the incident.  What gives this story a twist is that Samantha herself is unsure about what actually happened.  Whenever she tries to remember, she just has hazy flashbacks to a battle in Iraq.

(And, let it be said, the battle scenes were surprisingly well-done for what appeared to be a rather low-budget film.  The director did a good job of creating and capturing the feel of total chaos and confusion.)

And, in many ways, Flashback is a standard Lifetime film.  Even while Samantha is being stalked, she enters into a relationship with yet another soldier (Steve Lund), who is politically ambitious and has secrets of his own.  The whole thing even includes, as almost every Lifetime film does, a chase and confrontation at an isolated cabin.   But then the film ends with some statistics about PTSD and suicide and with two final words on the screen: “For Cathy.”  It’s a powerful moment and I’d like to give the director proper credit.  So, if you are the director or you know the director, leave a comment and let us know so that we can give credit where credit is due.

(UPDATE: Val has just informed me that this film was directed by Claude Desrosiers.  — LMB)

The other great thing about Flashback is that it featured Stacey Farber in the role of Samantha’s best friend!  If you’re a fan of Degrassi, like me and Valerie Troutman, then you will immediately recognize Stacey from her role as Ellie Nash!  Ellie was always my favorite character on Degrassi, largely because, as a redheaded film lover who used to dress exclusively in black and who has had some experience with rubber band therapy, I related to her in so many ways.  And while I remain a fan of the show, it definitely lost something when Stacey Farber left the show.  (That said, at least Ellie finally ended up with the totally hot Craig Manning!  Go, Ellie!)

Anyway, it’s interesting seeing Stacey Farber play a character who suggests that the best way for Samantha to deal with wartime trauma is to go on a shopping spree.  (That said, I probably would have made the same suggestion.  Shopping is always a good fallback remedy.)  But she does a good job in her role (as does the entire cast) and it was nice to see that, for her, there is life after Degrassi.

In fact, I’m going to end this review with three of my favorite Ellie gifs.