Release date:October 24, 2008
Screenwriters:Bradley Rand Smith, Dalton Trumbo
An adaptation of the award-winning 1971 film The film takes place in the mind of Joe Bonham, an American soldier lying in a hospital room after being hit by an artillery shell on the final day of WWI. Traveling in and out of pools of consciousness, Joe flashes back to memories of his farewell on the day of his embarkment. As he regains full consciousness, Joe describes the scene at the train station that morning. He jumps up on a bench, waving to his girl, Karen, when he is suddenly stopped by a distant painful ringing in his ears. Leaving his memories behind, he sits on the bench, gathers his thoughts, and discovers he’s gone deaf, “Stone cold deaf, Joe.” Joe discovers he is severely injured and that both of his arms and legs have been amputated. Furthermore, he cannot speak, see, hear, or smell because he no longer has a face – only a mask covering where his face used to be. He wonders bitterly about the doctors' motivation for saving him at all. As he lives inside his head, seeking comfort in his memories, Joe struggles to figure out whether he is awake or asleep, to find a way to “keep myself in the world.” He uses the only part of his body that is unharmed, “that is exactly as it should be,” the skin of his neck not covered by blankets, to try to sense the outside world. He develops a plan to tally the nurses' visits and feel the heat of sunrise on his skin so that he can establish the time of day. Sensing the dawn of a new day, Joe rejoices at capturing time and making his way back into the world.