The Invisible War (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

The Invisible War (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
3/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Best Documentary Feature (Amy ZieringKirby Dick).
Watched March 10, 2014.


The Invisible War is a devastating documentary that discusses the victims of rape within the US military and how it has negatively affected the victims’ well beings, their careers, and their relationships.  More than ninety percent of the time, the attackers go unpunished and about 25% of the time it is because the attacker is their commanding officer.  Not all victims are women, either.  But because of the way that the military handles rape crimes, most victims never come forward.


This is a powerful story that needs to be told.  Already the documentary has brought attention to the people who can make changes.  When this documentary was filmed, the person who determined the course of action for the case and the attacker was the commander, but this has since changed.


One woman, Kori Cioca, who had joined the Coast Guard, was attacked multiple times by her CO.  She came forward several times, with multiple officers, to report the man and to be transferred, but she never was.  Her jaw was broken in the attack and, as the documentary shows, she has struggled for years to get the VA to cover her medical costs.  She has been eating soft food for about five years.


She and other women from the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force, have all come together to tell their story and speak up.  Rape should never be accepted as an “occupational hazard.”  They want people to be aware and they want justice.


For the most part this was a good documentary.  The stories were heart breaking, the women were relatable, and their families were visibly suffering along side them.  They were living every day with their anger because there was no justice, no sense of closure, and every day other women, or men, were going through what they went through.  Sometimes the editing was not at par with the rest of the film.  They used jump cuts inappropriately during interviews–something that is regularly used in a YouTube format, for example, but rarely in mainstream media.  As an editor this was distracting and pulled me away from the tragedy being communicated on screen because it is “against the rules,” so to say.


I think the biggest reason for this film is for these women’s voices to be heard.  They tried for a lawsuit.  They spoke with people in D.C.  They cried with each other when they told their stories.  It is about what happened to them, but more so what did not happen to them.  They were told that they were asking for it, that their uniform was too provocative–anything that would release the attacker of guilt.  This is something that tends to happen in the American culture, and it is devastating that it happens so often within what is supposed to be our finest.


I feel strongly about this film.  Its execution was fine, its story telling ability was good, but the people within it are what makes it great.


Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of our military and its members.  I tried to keep this review objective but I don’t think I did entirely.  I am passionate about speaking up for the victims, not the people who committed the federal crime.


I will not tell you either way if you should see this film.  I leave that entirely up to you.  There are many women, and even a man, in this film who tell their stories and how it has changed their lives.