2021 AFI Festival: To What Remains Movie Review

Directed by Chris Woods
Written by Mark Monroe
Produced by Dan Friedkin
Original Score by Joseph Trapanese
Plot: A team searches for pilots whose planes went missing during the Battle of Peleliu in World War II.

At the beginning of the film, we hear that over two hundred aircraft were shot down during World War II. You listen to lots of numbers and stats that blow your mind but what really makes you take a step back is hearing these men and women’s fearless mission to find the aircraft lost during the war to give the families maybe a little peace.

These documentaries are always ones that will pull at the heartstrings. Of course, we hear the stories from the soldiers themselves, talk about the travesty, the battle they faced, and the friends they lost. But, I do think what made this story stand out was how they told it.

We hear the stories of why these men are searching for these aircraft, but director Chris Woods lets us hear the words from the soldiers, their families and what it means for them to find these aircraft. We watch one of the soldiers be brought back to the scene of which he fought was a powerful piece of reality. This scene and the moments that followed were truly breathtaking.

After twenty years, they find the aircraft they have been looking for and you see the joy and happiness it brought to these men’s faces, but you also know that the families that will get a tiny bit of closure make you grab for the tissues.

The documentary leaves you with hope and inspiration and highlights the brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives daily to help keep us free. To What Remains is genuinely a must-watch documentary.

The Verdict: B+

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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