The Drummer (VOD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director: Eric Werthman
Distributor: 1091 Pictures
Duration: 98 minutes

The Drummer (VOD) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Compelling storytelling, Great acting performances
Bad: Maybe a little underwhelming in terms of character development
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The Drummer is Eric Werthman’s return to both the writing and director’s seat since his last movie credit in 2004. This gripping movie tells a story with a lot of political weight in today’s society, despite being set in the past. It touches on many themes that will always stay relevant as long as wars are being fought. The movie intertwines three narratives about the traumatic effects war can have on soldiers, which often go ignored by the public, the government, and even their own fellow soldiers. Not an easy movie to sit through, but one that is well worth the watch.

The story has three main characters, though their plots continually overlap to form one big narrative. At the center of it all is Mark Walker (Danny Glover) who is a retired Vietnam veteran running The Drummer during the Iraq war. While technically an internet cafe, it’s more akin to a meeting place for political activists and other former soldiers protesting against the current war and the abysmal treatment of soldiers who come back from the battlefield with severe PTSD. These soldiers often get sent into battle again without their bad psychological state being addressed or even recognized. One of these soldiers is Darien (Sam Underwood), a young father waiting on his third deployment. He is having severe trouble dealing with civilian life, while simultaneously fearing his oncoming return to Iraq. Cori (Prema Cruz) is even worse off, hiding out in her grandmother’s home after going AWOL six months ago when she couldn’t face going back to Iraq. She is now on the run for the army, which would arrest her for deserting. As a lawyer, Walker tries to help them push back against the uncaring military that would rather ship them off as soon as possible, but it’s clear that he’s waging an uphill battle.

With the themes this movie tackles, it might not be surprising that it can be difficult to watch in the sense that it is clearly a raw and emotional portrayal of humanity. Aside from the obvious elements like war, trauma, PSTD, and abuse of power, other heavy subjects such as suicidal thoughts and sexual assault are touched upon. None of it gets overwhelming or too much, with the story realistically building around these themes, and having a good sense of when to show something and when to only mention it in dialogue. Nonetheless, the flow of the story is still rather slow, with many scenes of characters doing mundane things or having long-winded conversations. It fits the movie, but it makes the shorter length of the feature a blessing. The Drummer knows not to overstay its welcome, even if it means you don’t have enough time to get too attached to the characters.

A story like this could not be told without some solid performances to convey the emotional turmoil within these characters. Thankfully The Drummer has a cast that knows exactly what they’re doing. Some scenes gave us literal goosebumps because of their impact, much of it thanks to the outstanding acting. The amazing cinematography and sound work definitely helped, but it’s the actors’ portrayal of the characters that make this movie feel as real as it does.

As a VOD, this movie currently does not have any extras. There isn’t anything you can add to this without detracting from the heartbreaking message the story conveys. We could appreciate the views of the director on this project, or perhaps even interviews with real-life veterans to shed more light on how these themes have affected them. That being said, The Drummer stands quite tall on its own.


The Drummer is a movie that manages to cut deep without getting preachy. Every scene feels authentic and real. It also hits the nail right on its head with its relatively short runtime being the perfect length to unfold the plot without leaving questions unanswered or on the other hand beating a dead horse by falling into repetition. The acting is excellent and carries the movie forward more than anything else, making this truly an experience worth your time.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The Drummer (VOD) - Movie Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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