War is SuicideWar is Suicide

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Ohio 1970.

OHIO, 1970. A young man, John Graham, lies comatose on a floor while doctors in white coats and military officers in dress uniform stare down at him.

ONE DAY EARLIER: (flashback) It's a Spring morning in a small college town. John Graham wakes up in his basement apartment. He mutters "Last day," then showers, dresses, leaves carrying a tool belt. John enters a camera store and buys a birthday card from Joe, who works there. John walks to a construction site, where his co- workers Harry and Link tease him about the physical John must somehow fail tomorrow to avoid being drafted and sent to Vietnam. After accidently hurting himself, John quits. His boss Lew drives him downtown. He tries to give John advice but John cuts him off and walks away. He approaches a nearby house, knocks. Linda (John's girlfriend) answers. John hands her the birthday card. She accepts it but informs him that her birthday was yesterday. John asks Linda to get back with him. She refuses.

Meanwhile, Joe's boss says he'll miss him when Joe is gone in the army. Joe wonders aloud if he can get good pictures in Vietnam then takes a break from work, carrying a camera. John leaves Linda's house and soon after runs into Professor Wright, who reminds him that he dropped out of college before finishing his class. John sits on a nearby war memorial. Frank, a Vietnam veteran, joins him. Frank sees Trent, a military officer, walk by and gives him the finger. They hear guitar music and approach student types Clarisse, Lily and Charles. Charles jokes that Clarisse likes Frank, and that Frank and Lily used to be an item. Lily bitterly asks Frank why he hasn't been to the club lately. Frank shrugs. Charles hints that Lily might be a slut (she's a go-go dancer) but John defends her. Nearby, Joe takes pictures of them. They laugh it off and walk across the street to the student union. Inside, they sit in a booth. Lily says their friend Bobby's tour in Vietnam will be up soon. Frank says he's glad to be alive. Lily comments unhappily about their short affair. Lily and Clarisse joke about Linda, who has broken up with John. Upset, John leaves. Frank follows. On the way to Frank's house, they relate crazy ways others have devised to avoid the draft. John says he will not go to war.

Lily drives home, opens her mail and finds a letter from Bobby. What she reads shocks and horrifies her. At Frank's house, John asks him why he broke up with Lily. Frank says he just wants to be free. Just then Lily arrives, asking about a box of letters from Bobby which Frank stores. She tries to tell Frank about Bobby's latest letter but Frank rudely shuts the door in her face. John finds the box of letters and joins her in her car. They drive off together. Lily drives to a small lake where she relates how she was raped several years before. John tries to console her but when he kisses her, Lily stalks off to her car. She is about to strand him but he apologizes and she calms down. Lily says he can make it up by helping her remove her stuff from the go-go club. They drive there and in the lounge, encounter the club owner Sid as well as Link. Grinning, Link says he quit working for Lew, too. Lily tells Sid she is quitting the club. Sid acts unconcerned. Link compliments Lily on her appearance. Lily retorts smartly and gestures for John to follow her. They go to the dressing room and gather up her costumes. On the way back through the lounge, Sid tells Lily that she will be back. Behind the club in her car, Lily, nearly in tears, almost tells John about Bobby's letter but changes her mind, saying she has to read his other letters first. Linda drops John off at his apartment.

Shortly after, Linda visits John, worried about John's physical tomorrow. John says he has a idea what to do but can't tell her about it. Upset, Linda stalks off. That evening John paces downtown. Without seeing him John passes Joe, who is just getting off work. Joe goes home and in his dark room, develops the pictures he took of John, Frank, Lily, Charles and Clarisse. At a pay phone, John tries to call Professor Wright but can't get through. Continuing to walk, John sees Clarisse and Charles arguing in a restaurant. He joins them and Charles laughingly tells John that Clarisse somehow thinks she is his girlfriend. They joke around a bit at Clarisse's expense, then Charles buys John dinner. Charles asks about his physical. John says he has a plan but can't tell anyone, fearing his friends will talk him out of it.

Meanwhile Joe is eating dinner at his parents' house. They discuss Joe's options, including trying to obtain conscientious objector status. In a cafe, Lily reads Bobby's letters, getting more and more upset. Abruptly she leaves. In the alley she throws them away, then tearfully gathers them up. Link approaches. He asks if she wants to go to a coke party. Lily agrees. Shortly after, John enters a bar. Inside he sits down next to Harry. John asks if he has downers. Harry says he needs to talk to Link and offers to drive him to Link's trailer in the country to score the drugs. As John gets into Harry's car, Clarisse hurries up. She says Charles guessed John is planning to do something to himself--and he must stop! John ignores her and drives off with Harry. Clarisse calls Linda and relates her fears. Linda says she will try to find John and stop him.

Shortly after, Linda visits John, worried about John's physical tomorrow. John says he has a idea what to do but can't tell her about it. Upset, Linda stalks off. That evening John paces downtown. Without seeing him John passes Joe, who is just getting off work. Joe goes home and in his dark room, develops the pictures he took of John, Frank, Lily, Charles and Clarisse. At a pay phone, John tries to call Professor Wright but can't get through. Continuing to walk, John sees Clarisse and Charles arguing in a restaurant. He joins them and Charles laughingly tells John that Clarisse somehow thinks she is his girlfriend. They joke around a bit at Clarisse's expense, then Charles buys John dinner. Charles asks about his physical. John says he has a plan but can't tell anyone, fearing his friends will talk him out of it.

John and Harry arrive at Link's trailer. Inside are Link, Brickle and Eva, drug addled friends of Link's. John notices Lily sitting in a corner, very high. Harry helps John get more downers, then leaves. John sits next to Lily, who explains that Bobby is in deep trouble for killing a Vietnamese woman. Link asks why it would matter--that's what they do over there. Lily tells Link that she happened to be an army colonel's mistress. Brickle and Eva offer John and Lily a ride back to town. Lily decides to stay. Reluctantly John leaves.

Linda runs into Harry, who tells her John is at Link's. Linda drives to Link's and arrives just in time to prevent Link from raping Lily. Linda hits Link with a clock then drives Lily back to her club--where she will dance tonight. John enters the bar where Frank, Charles and Clarisse are drinking. Frank is drunk and tries to start a fight with Charles. John helps the bouncer throw Frank out. John tries to calm Frank down. Frank tells him they are a just cogs in a big machine-- Do not enter the army!-- before staggering off. Linda finds John and asks him what he will do tomorrow. John says he will do something--that maybe if he sacrifices himself he can do some good. Linda tries to talk him out of his plan--she blames herself--and even gives herself to him sexually. It makes no difference. John has made up his mind.

Later that night, Frank has a run-in with the law and spends the night in jail. Charles and Clarisse walk home hand in hand, their problems resolved. Lily ends up going home with Sid, who gets her high on coke. Linda drives John home, where he peels the label off a bottle of pills.

NEXT DAY: Hitchhiking to the recruitment center, John is picked up by Joe. They drive to the recruitment center where they are ushered into a large room with all the other recruits. After listening to a lecture by the recruiter (Trent), John opens up his bottle of pills and swallows the whole bottle....

Total Run Time: 118 Minutes