A Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq war, Bobby Lane, was going to commit suicide. He had his plans laid out, but before he would put a gun to his head for the final time he decided to go surfing–just once. He then is formally introduced to Van Curaza, a former professional surfer who has now founded Operation Surf with the purpose of showing mentally and physically wounded veterans the restorative powers that the ocean can have on them. It’s a method to keep fighting instead of giving up.
“Resurface” is a brief documentary clocking in around thirty minutes, but it is packed with beautiful cinematography and raw emotions–both painful and heartwarming. Some of the veterans featured have suffered a loss of limbs, while others have suffered brain trauma and others mental scars from the horrors of being at war for their country. It would have been enjoyable for the movie to be longer, but the director does an excellent job of telling the story in the short time frame.
The featured veterans span the Global War on Terror and all the way back to Vietnam. While focusing on Lane, it devotes sufficient time to tell the story of other veterans and how Lane would end up encouraging them in the process.
In addition to the physical and emotional battles these veterans face, the movie also depicts the stunning amount of medication that many are on. A short supply of pills that have enough volume to fill a bowl or an entire cabinet. Lane describes the difficulty he has in remembering how much to take, or how much he has taken to combat his PTSD, seizures and other diagnosed issues. He describes the road rage, the verbal altercations and the havoc his PTSD has wreaked on his relationships.
But all is not lost, thanks to Operation Surf and the support of other veterans involved. After being battered and beaten by the ocean, these warriors find the peace on the ocean and the strength to press on. That peace quickly turns to excitement and a passion that gets them to think about another day. No longer focused on getting through the present day, they begin to wonder what the waves will be like tomorrow; the veterans find hope that their troubles can be washed away all over again.
This movie will draw you in and lift you up. It has the feel of a large budget production and the storyline to back it up, and it’s one that you will want to watch again and share with others.
Available on Netflix
Directed by Josh Izenberg and Wynn Padula
Produced by Scott Stillman
Cinematography by Owen Bissell and Wynn Padula
Edited by Traci Loth
Featured image courtesy of Netflix.