The blood strip is that red stripe that goes down the leg of a U.S. Marine's uniform. It was added to the uniform in combination with other colors, but after the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War the color was changed to a solid scarlet red to commemorate the high number of casualties suffered by Marines.


Remy Auberjonois' directorial debut discusses the inner torment a female Marine veteran suffers when she returns home from a couple of tours in the Mideast. Sarge (Kate Nowlin) has returned to her home in Minnesota and her husband Rusty (Chris Sullivan) who is about as affectionate as a cactus. But most of her friends and family are glad to have her back home though none are ready to deal with her new disturbed temperment.


She is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and knows it, but also acknowledges that getting real help from the VA will take a while because of a waiting list.

After she snaps off at her welcome home party, when one of the male guests starts groping her (and she beats the crap out of him), she takes off when Rusty sides with the groper and not his wife.


She winds up at her childhood camp now run by a mostly self sufficient Dorothy - or Dot (Rusty Schwimmer) who is more than happy to have the very able bodied Sarge to help out. This seems like a good situation, especially after she meets a recluse fisherman (Tom Lipinski) who has issues of his own.


You can run all you want but you can't hide from your own demons, and soon the Sarge finds herself feeling trapped and in battle, especially after a church retreat comes to the camp. She finds solace with the pastor Art (Rene Auberjonois) but that too is short-lived when her inner demons manifest themselves to demonize two local hunters who really could care less about her. Nevertheless she resorts to her marine training attack mode.


The story is gripping and director Remy was wise to cast his wife (Nowlin) in the lead of a film she wrote. His choice for his dad (Rene) was pretty good too as the pastor. All the acting from the rural yokels to the lead was solid.


Radium Cheung's cinematography suffered from the rather nondescript Minnesota locations; the scenery was not inviting even when it should have been. The camp never did look like an oasis, but more like a prison camp.


"Blood Stripe" is well acted and a solid first effort for both director Remy Auberjonois and writer Kate Nowlin. It acknowledges that PTSD isn't just a male soldier's issue and dramatizes the effect on everyone.   -- GEOFF BURTON