The Drummer Movie Review

Released Direct to Video on November 9th, 2021


“The Drummer” is a slow-moving anti-war movie with too many heavy-handed topics. It treats the characters as players in a moral dilemma based during the height of the Iraq War. Set in 2008, in a small town in upstate New York, a little place called ‘The Drummer’ becomes a focal point of resistance to the ongoing War. The people involved are soldiers (or ex-soldiers) who want nothing to do with the thing they are stuck doing.



The main person in charge of ‘The Drummer’ is an older guy named Mark Walker (played by Danny Glover). He is a veteran of Viet Nam, and he lost many friends back in that conflict. He saves their old dog tags and keeps them in her car – to remember them. He has become a lawyer and he works with current military members who are stationed at an Army base in the town. He attempts to get soldiers discharged, based on the psychological damage these people have suffered. He works with mostly volunteers, many whom he has helped to get out of the Army. One such person is Nate (played by Frankie Alvarez), who still suffers from depression and anxiety.


An active duty soldier named Darien Cooper (played by Sam Underwood) is home from a stint in Iraq. He and his wife Maria (played by Camila Perez) have a young child. Darien knows that soon he will be called back to another call of duty to serve in Iraq once more. It will be his third tour there, and he is afraid to go back. He is suffering from PTSD (Post Tramitic Stress Disorder) and he feel is life is falling apart around him. He meets with Mark Walker for a short visit, but he does not think Walker can help him.


There is a woman soldier who has gone AWOL. Cori Gibson (played by Prema Cruz) also has serious issues with serving in the Army. She was sexually harassed in Iraq, and nothing was done to prevent it. She has vowed never to go back. Her grandmother convinces her to go and talk with Mark Walker. He wants her to turn herself in, but he will represent her in the military court. But first, he wants to have a press conference so that word gets out that the Army is mistreating soldiers and nothing is being resolved to give them any mental health treatment.


Darien takes a break during a four-day pass and he visits Canada. A soldier he was stationed with is up there hiding out – off the grid. The other guy tells him that Canada will not be a welcome place for an AWOL soldier. People up there from the U.S. without any legal work visas cannot get anything other than menial jobs. There is no way to raise a family, especially in a case like Darien. Darien comes back home, but his stress becomes worse, and he is close to going off the edge.


Mark Walker is conducting the press conference at ‘The Drummer’. Cori will speak about what happened to her and give her reasons for fleeing the Army. Before she can talk, some Army MP’s arrive and arrest Cori. She gets taken to the base for processing. The next day, Walker goes to try and see her, and find she will be sent off for a psyche evaluation against her will. He talks with the MP’s and, in the distraction, Cori escapes the military one more time. Now she will be in even bigger trouble. Walker did not distract them on purpose, but his permission to help anyone on-base will be rescinded.


Walker is still working to find soldiers to help, but he gets rejected more times than not. Cori is out and about, living on the down low – hoping that the MP’s do not find her again. Darien get his notice to go back for another tour of duty. Tragedy happens, when Darien’s PTSD get to be too much. Cori hears about what has happened, and only them she allows Walker to have one more chance to help her. Because she will need plenty of help to get an actual release…


“The Drummer” is an overbearing story that lays it on really thick. It makes anyone in the Army who has any power out to be evil people. The politicians of that time fare just as badly. The Iraq War was all about oil! There were never any Weapons of Mass Destruction! The haircuts they give you are too short! The characters are never fleshed out more than the ‘anti-war vet’, or ‘soldier on the brink’ or ‘scared young woman fighting the system’. It makes an attempt to change your mind about a topic that was topical thirteen years ago.


The acting is fine, with Prema Cruz having the best role as Cori. She makes you feel that there was some real injustice that was done, and that she does all that she can to fight against it. Sam Underwood does OK, but his role is very overdone. He turns from being a durable soldier and becomes an out-of-control murderous fiend in no time at all. Danny Glover has true feelings for anti-war progressive agendas. But his performance does not reflect any inner passion, only fatigue.


“The Drummer” is the wrong anti-war movie at the wrong time. And Danny Glover shows that, yeah, maybe he IS too old for this sh@t…


Released Direct to Video on November 9th, 2021


The Drummer

Directed by: Eric Werthman
Written by: Jessica Gohlke, Eric Werthman
Starring: Danny Glover, Sam Underwood,Prema Cruz
Music by: Clare Manchon, Olivier Manchon
Cinematography by: Marcin Kapron
Release date: November 9th, 2021 (Direct to Video)
Length: 99 minutes
Genre: Drama


Rating contributor: JMcNaughton

Well, now - COVID changes everything... But in my dreams:

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