VFW (2019) Review

VFW, set in the parking lots, roofs, and interiors of a crumbling movie theater and a near-empty Veterans of Foreign Wars hall’s bar, is a film of our times for our times. 

A new drug, called Hype, has destroyed the world. A laconic, chain-smoking, slinky leader in a leather jacket covered with spikes laughs while tossing a bag of the drug off the roof as a desperate woman leaps to her death after it. “An army of braindead animals is still an army,” the leader says about his drug-addicted, punk-attired masses. 

Cut to: pixie punk girl (Lizard) hiding out at the nearby VFW where she meets a few gents who will not just regale each other with tales of war tonight; they will actually relive them. Echoing the bleak and sinister vibe of films like Escape from New York (1981), Green Room (2015), The Deer Hunter (1978), and Day of the Dead (1985), VFW is claustrophobic, moving (“There used to be more of us. There used to be a whole lot more of us.”), funny (“In this neighborhood, gunshots are like crickets. It’s background noise.”), and disturbing (“Let’s use those bodies as sand bags”).

Yes, indeed, VFW is a film of our times for our times, a bleak and nasty little picture that rings with the truth of dire straits, desperation, gallows humor, emotional baggage, and brutality, a shut-in, social-distancing sort of picture which leaves the viewer frayed, slayed, and betrayed.   

Today is May 5th, 2020, and VFW is currently streaming on various VOD services.   

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