BREAKING RANKS is a moving documentary that examines the current phenomena of US soldiers seeking refuge in Canada as part of their resistance to the war effort in Iraq. With intimate access to four American military deserters, their lawyer and families, this film documents their experiences as they try to exercise their consciences amidst profound emotional, ethical and international consequences.
If deported, they face the venom of mainstream American opinion and one to five years in prison. If Canada instead follows the legacy established by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau during the Vietnam War, when Canada welcomed tens of thousands of war resisters, there may well be an unprecedented crisis in U.S.-Canadian relations.
The emotional core of Breaking Ranks is formed by candid interviews with the four young men as they take on their journeys from the moment of recruitment to the momentous decision to desert. Filmed over the course of the refugee process, this provocative film explores the meaning of duty as these young soldiers share their personal stories of moral awakening and the burden that it brings.
Directed by Michelle Mason, an award-winning filmmaker whose first film, The Friendship Village, was an inspiring account of reconciliation between American and Vietnamese veterans, Breaking Ranks reveals the everyday lives, hopes, and idealism of another generation of young soldiers as they become controversial peace activists.
Breaking Ranks is a universal story about the painful forming of character, of men growing to manhood in more complex ways than they expected. Heroes to some and traitors to others, as these young men navigate the international controversy caused by their decisions, their stories raise challenging questions about citizenship and the meaning of duty.