Lauren Lariviere's I Am A Soldier is a powerful tale of circumstance, desperation, and the deterioration of morality which can occur in such times of strife. Centered around Sandrine, a young woman, who has just been forced out of her apartment due to lack of income after losing her job, I Am A Soldier begins as a quietly, observational study of the isolation one can feel in times of pain, focusing on how powerful the feeling of failure can affect the psyche. Moving back home to her Mother's house, Sandrine feels completely isolated, struggling with life while her mother and sibling seem to be relatively happy with stable jobs and a budding young family in the case of Sandrine's sister. Still struggling to find a job, Sandrine is invited to work with her uncle at his dog kennels, soon realizing her uncle's business practices and financial success Isn't exactly rooted in legal business. I Am A Soldier is a fascinating examination of morality conflicting with survival, which itself is defined by money in contemporary society. Sandrine is a beautiful young woman who enters the dark world of dog smuggling, something which pierces her sense of morality and she is forced to ignore the pain for the sake of financial structure. I Am A Soldier is a quietly angry film about how money corrupts, finding Sandrine entering into the world of illegal dog smuggling as a way to support herself. It's very understated in the film, but I believe it is the fear she has of being homeless and jobless that keeps her going for awhile as she witnesses some rather unsavory things. As Sandrine falls deeper and deeper into this world her life becomes more stable financially, yet her psyche grows increasingly troubled, as she begins to question the moral consequences of her actions. The uncle in this story is a quietly menacing character, someone whose morality has long been compromised for the sake of financial gain. This is a man who the audience will grow to dislike but it becomes clear that he is an important character to this story, representing the future version of Sandine if she continues to follow down this path. Towards the finale of the film, Sandine's actions and near tragedy are what forces her uncle to realize the error of his ways, realizing the harm he has done to his niece because of greed, making this character somewhat empathetic through establishing the financial struggles affecting many characters.. In the end, Laurent Lariviere's I Am A Soldier isn't so much anti-capitalist but more a study of how morality deteriorates in times of desperation, showing how money is simply the tool we define success by and because of that it can lead towards moral bankruptcy.
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