How's this for a job: Your assignment is to persuade people to join an organization that is definitely going to send them into a war zone, where there is every chance they will be killed. And you thought being a telemarketer was tough!
An American Soldier (now being called The Recruiter), an intriguing and complex documentary from Oscar-nominated director Edet Belzberg (Children Underground), follows the efforts of Sgt. Clay Usie, one of the Army's top recruiters, as he does his job in the small town of Houma, La. This happens to be where Usie grew up, and that probably helps him connect with the local youth. Still, he's good enough at what he does that he could probably be from the moon and still get kids to join the Army.
He seems to be sincere in his love for the armed forces and the United States. "I don't have a 'pitch,'" he says of his recruiting tactics. "I go out and look for patriots." That kind of black-and-white thinking -- all patriots would serve in the military, all who would serve in the military are patriots -- may not hold up to scrutiny, but it does appeal to a lot of people, particularly those whose options are limited.