Battle Scars

A somewhat muddled depiction of PTSD, with plenty of lap dances.

Danny Buday’s testosterone-drenched Battle Scars is part coming-home drama and part crime thriller, but it might have been better served by focusing on one or the other. After fighting with his wife Jules (Amy Davidson) mostly by ignoring her, recently returned veteran Luke (Zane Holtz) repairs to a strip club run by crime boss Rifka (Fairuza Balk!), where he gets a lapdance from dancer Summer (Kristen Renton) and grossly hits on waitress Michelle (Heather McComb), writing “DIKE BITCH” on the tip line when she rejects his advances. (Our hero, folks!)

Michelle and Luke nevertheless wind up on the run together to escape Rifka’s wrath, while Summer turns out to be the girlfriend of Luke’s weed-dealer brother Nicky (Ryan Eggold), and both are disappointments to their Great Santini-wannabe father (David James Elliott). Though it aims to spread awareness about an important issue, the lopsided Battle Scars knows the choir it’s preaching to: It’s overly enamored of its strip club location, and Rifka is established as a predatory lesbian for no reason other than to make her comeuppance even more satisfying. The specific cause of Luke’s PTSD isn’t revealed until the second act, and while said reveal is handled gracefully, the closing informational text about the infirmity may provoke a giggle. But don’t even think about laughing, you bad person.

Battle Scars
Not rated.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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