REVIEW: Uninspired direction, stellar acting prevail in ‘Indivisible’

Starring “Grey’s Anatomy” actors Justin Bruening and Sarah Drew, “Indivisible” explores a couple’s efforts to save their marriage in the midst of war. The film was released in theatres on Friday. (Photo from IMDb)

In “Indivisible,” “Grey’s Anatomy” alumni Sarah Drew and Justin Bruening return to the screen with palpable chemistry.

However, even spectacular performances from Drew, Bruening and the rest of the cast weren’t enough to save a lackluster script and sloppy cinematography.

Based on the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather Turner, “Indivisible” follows the Turners after Darren’s deployment to Iraq in 2007 and the fallout of his time abroad.

“Indivisible” touches on the topics of post-traumatic stress disorder, war and relationships through the lens of faith.

Drew performs beautifully — her facial expressions are effusive and reactive to every situation. The audience can feel the pain in her voice when Heather screams, “I need you!” during a fight with Darren. The anguish on her face and the breaking of her voice reveal the immense pressure Drew’s character deals with while raising three children by herself and supporting various army widows.

“Indivisible” touches on the importance of communication to sustain healthy relationships and healing, both in everyday life and in war. However, at certain points, the characters’ long, drawn-out monologues can feel like characters preaching at the audience. In fact, many of the plot points seem predicated on long monologues.

In one scene, fellow soldier Michael Lewis (Jason Winston-George) runs into Darren, who works at a gardening business after returning from Iraq. Michael, who had been previously disillusioned with the idea of God, lost his leg during an attack in Iraq and became a believer afterward. However, his interaction with Darren seems overtly staged and inauthentic, as the two had not spoken since Iraq.

The film contains some questionable directing and cinematographic choices. The decision to have some of Darren’s sermons put on voiceover was questionable at best, as these scenes could have easily seen Turner interact with the crowd at the Iraqi army base.

The cinematography of the scenes in Iraq is lackluster. While the movie focused more on themes of faith and communication, it lacked the grittiness of typical war movies which would have provided more context as to Darren’s symptoms from PTSD. Instead, the film’s adrenaline-triggering war scenes feel distant and removed — especially when the soldiers go on patrol only to see Darren finding out about their deaths in the next scene.

“Indivisible” is a solid independent film with impressive performances from the cast. Its approach to war and PTSD go against the grain of typical war films. While “Indivisible” is probably more appealing to people of faith, its unifying theme of communication is understood by all.