Two Soldiers is a 2003 short film (just barely—it gets under the AMPAS 40-minute "short film" mark by about 15 seconds) directed by Aaron Schneider.
Rural Mississippi, 1941. Pete and Willie are brothers. Despite the age difference, Willie being nine and Pete being about a decade older, they are close as close can be. An innocent country life of farming and collecting bird eggs is interrupted by news bulletins reporting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Pete immediately decides to enlist, despite the fact that as a farm worker he doesn't have to. He bids Willie goodbye, but Willie decides that he's going to go to war with his big brother. A difficult journey to the induction center in Memphis eventually has Willie crossing paths with a kindly Army colonel (Ron Perlman), who helps him in his quest.
Based on a short story by William Faulkner.
- Call-Back: Pete tells Willie that the shikepoke bird finds its way back to its old nest by "instinct". At the end, he says the same thing to tell Willie that he'll make it home from the war.
- The Determinator: How determined is Willie to see his brother? He walks thirty miles to the bus depot. No really, how determined is he? He pulls a knife on the store clerk that tries to stop him, and does the same with an uncooperative Army lieutenant.
- Down on the Farm: The family farm, which doesn't appear to be thriving. When Pete's father says that he could fall behind if Pete leaves, Pete says "You've been behind all your life."
- Named by the Adaptation: In the Faulkner short story, the boy, who is the narrator, isn't named.
- Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with a shot of Willie on Pete's shoulders as they walk away.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Col. McKellog (Perlman), who really does go the extra mile. He lets it pass when Willie winds up slicing the lieutenant's hand during a struggle, and he has the lieutenant fetch Pete and bring him back to the depot so the brothers can have a farewell.
- The Stinger: Willie is a fan of the Lone Ranger radio show. At the very end of the credits we hear "The story you have just heard is a copyrighted feature of The Lone Ranger, Inc."
- We Interrupt This Program: "We interrupt this broadcast" as a radio bulletin reports the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.