War is a dirty business all around. One of the dirtiest things about war is how "cannon fodder" is recruited; how in Heaven's name can you get people who will, of their own free will, volunteer to give up their lives for "home and country" or, at any rate, for the economic
interests of their country. "Recruit Rosenberg" doesn't deal so much with the recruitment process as it does with the personal motives of a young man who joins the Marines.
Doran, the recruit, isn't the sort of young man who you would expect to join the armed forces. He is a young man who has the capacity to go to college. Moreover, he was raised in a liberal environment by his mother. His friends, well-rounded young men that, as expected by their families and friends, plan to go to college, are puzzled. But maybe it isn't such a puzzle after all, as the interviews with these friends quickly begin to uncover the "why" of Doran's decision: Doran is confused about his identity, and he'd rather hand over his individuality to a higher power than to find it for himself. This need to give up his own individuality is particularly strong because Doran isn't a typical "alpha male" and, therefore, is hoping to become "cooler" by joining the armed forces. Doran himself is full of propaganda such as "paying a debt to this country," the US as "the world's cop," and "When you've got ultimate power you also have to take ultimate responsibility, just like Spider Man said."
'Like Spider-Man said'? It is very clear that Doran really has no idea of what he's doing, a fact his friends bring up again and again. Even Doran himself begins to have more doubts as the date of his departure for basic training approaches. As a viewer, you breathe a sigh of relief for everyone in the film when Doran lies and says that he is a bed wetter so that he can be sent home. His choice to join the Marines was not well thought out and reckless, but what ultimately "saved" him was that the Marines also weren't happy with him.
"Recruit Rosenberg" is short and the two very young directors did not go in great depth. Doran is, above all, a confused adolescent, but the greater problem of the large number of confused adolescents with few other options than joining the armed forces doesn't come up in the film. Doran says a few times that he doesn't trust the recruiters, but the recruiters themselves don't play a part in the film. In addition, the picture quality of the film leaves a lot to be desired. "Recruit Rosenberg" is, undoubtedly, a beginner's effort, but doesn't lack interest and value.
When Doran Miller-Rosenberg makes the unexpected decision to join the Marines, his friends Max Blecker and Efraim Klein begin to make a short film about this decision. Over the course of five months, they interview Doran, his friends and his family, to not only document Doran's
experiences, but also to reveal the reasoning behind this drastic decision.
I think Doran has been a really good sport about this effort, considering the fact that the serious purpose of the movie is to show how naive and deluded he was and all the humor comes from poking fun at him.
I'm using the icon I usually use for reading, just because it has Doran with his pre-Marine hair cut. Now his hair is long and curly again.