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One of the most honest films about what it's like to be a soldier
on 6 August 2007
Now let's be realistic: this film was never going to be very popular with army recruiters. They will no doubt say that it stressed everything that can be bad about army life. On the other hand, it's their job to stress everything that is good about army life, so they're hardly likely to be even-handed on the matter.
In actual fact, The Mark of Cain is very finely balanced. There is an inspirational, honest leader and a loyal, dedicated member of the TA. Unfortunately, they are both killed, but that's what happens in real life.
The subsequent recriminations and slide into the moral cesspit are all too recognisable not just to those who have served in the army but anyone who has ever worked anywhere where there's a bit of politics and a clear heirarchy: it could be an office, a school, a factory or a football club. The people at the top always get away with it and those on the bottom of the pile get burned.
There are some brilliant acting performances here, perhaps most notably from Gerard Kearns, best known as Ian from Shameless. In a very different role, he stands out as a compromised, troubled and ultimately tragic squaddie.
War does terrible things to us. This film never lets you forget that.