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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    The title of this film STOP-LOSS may puzzle many. According to Wikipedia, 'Stop-loss, in the United States military, is the involuntary extension of a service member's active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS) date. It also applies to the cessation of a permanent change of station (PCS) move for a member still in military service'. According to writer (with Mark Richard)/director Kimberly Pierce (whose previous 'Boy's Don't Cry' tackled similarly volatile issues), the impetus for making this film about the effects of war on veterans returning home was her viewing of videos taken by soldiers while actively engaged in battle in Iraq: this is the first war where the soldiers have actually photographed their own experiences, documenting the realities/horrors of war on the now popular video equipment at their disposal. It is a solid idea for a film, but somehow the idea gets diluted in the script. Texas homeboys who have just returned from the Iraq war are greeted with a parade and medals and empty rhetoric, but find adapting to reentry into their native land is fraught with the deeply embedded mental wounds of their experience: interpersonal relationships fall apart, families face altered personalities in their sons, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome reigns. Brandon (Ryan Phillippe) blames himself for the deaths of his men, Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) drinks himself toward suicide, Rico (Victor Rasuk) attempts to see past his traumatically missing limbs, Isaac (Rob Brown) finds his entire world out of focus, and Steve (Channing Tatum) sees the military as his only point of reality to a life of success. When Brandon receives his Stop-Loss instead of his discharge papers his world turns upside down and he flounders in his nightmares and his need for escape to Canada or Mexico with his friend Michelle (Abbie Cornish). The horror of events that follow the homecoming of these damaged soldiers culminates in a tragedy that somehow results in the soldiers following the orders of the governmental Stop-Loss orders. And that is the worst tragedy. Though the message is important, the delivery of it gets hazy: the motivations of the characters are too loosely defined to convince us of their terrible plights. But the impact on the public should be a wake-up call on the extended damage of war - any war- on the men and women who experience it first hand and carry the mental scars for life. For that reason, if for no other, this is a film that should be seen. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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