I Am Vanessa Guillen is a forceful documentary about the titular woman who was murdered by a fellow soldier. After being stationed at Fort Hood, Vanessa "changed," and one day, she confessed to her mother that she was being sexually harassed on the premises. A few days later, she disappeared, and later, her body was found cut into different pieces.
The documentary immediately sucks you in and holds your attention. There is a sense of uneasiness in the opening scenes, and you feel something is not right here. The camera initially cuts to a statue of Jesus as if praying for happiness. A glimmer of hope appears near the end, though there is no respite when it comes to the things that happened to Vanessa.
Here was a woman who had wanted to join the army since she was a small child. Either that or she wanted to be an astronaut. Her mother preferred her daughter to go to the moon than join the military. Nevertheless, Vanessa recruited herself into the army, and after graduation, she was posted at Fort Hood. She didn't let her gender limit her capabilities as a soldier. She was bright and dedicated and loved her job. The job, though, failed to reciprocate that love.
The US army failed to investigate Vanessa's disappearance and didn't properly respond to her family members. If the family had kept quiet and not spoken up against the malpractices going on at Fort Hood, the military would have swept the whole incident under the carpet and moved on. I Am Vanessa Guillen serves as a reminder that nobody or no organization is perfect in this world. Even the people who are supposed to protect you fail to protect their colleagues and indulge in criminal behavior. The chest-thumping "patriots" can double up as vile traffickers and molesters. But it's not just the military. I Am Vanessa Guillen is also angry at the system. When the Trump administration fails to pass the Vanessa Guillen bill, we see the image of the White House, and it looks as if the documentary is casting a seething resentment at the government.
I Am Vanessa Guillen is filled with rage, sadness, disappointment, and optimism. It's also exhausting, but in a good way, as the screams and protests become palpable. The documentary directly gets to the point instead of dancing around the edges. It's lean, potent, and a must-watch.
Final Score- [9/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times
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