Mere weeks away from learning that their unit has received orders to go home from Iraq, various soldiers go on a humanitarian mission and run into an ambush. Chaos ensues, and all receive an injury in one way, shape, or form. Weeks later they are all in Spokane, Washington and the four main characters (Vanessa - Jessica Biel, Will - Samuel L. Jackson, Jamal - Fiddy, and Tommy - Brian Presely) deal with piecing their lives together while many hate the war, and by proxy, hold that hatred against the soldiers involved in it. The rest is just a person-by-person experience of individuals coping with semi-related post-war lives.
Home of the Brave is controversial in that it's difficult for a movie-maker to relay a message that's very positive of the military life or the struggles of a soldier - and keep a job in Hollywood - but it's clear that the creators of this movie didn't even remotely try. They paint a bleak picture of abandoned, abused, and shell-shocked soldiers who drink uncontrollably, can't control their anger, and can't relate to the "civilian life" outside of the foreign world of the military. In that sense, Home of the Brave reminded me in many ways of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Pain often accompanies scars, but what doesn't always coincide mentally, however, is the visibility of those same scars. Outward appearances don't always convey the truth of trauma or mental difficulties.
With all that said, however, as a former soldier and family member of several generations of soldiers, I can say unequivocally that the image conveyed is hazy to say the least. To be more accurate, it's slanted politically, with hints and outright displays of ignorant anti-war rhetoric, and reeks of the same type of elitist comments made by John Kerry about the correlation between being in the military and a lack of intelligence or education.
While the biased, hyper-focus of the movie is on the troubled few, what's left out is the great majority who deal with their troubles without a comment or complaint. Therein exists the truism of bravery, courage, honor, and sacrifice of the majority, and perhaps it would do the Hollywood folks a bit of good to concentrate a little more on those stories, because I've heard several and I'm sure there are countless more.