2000s Stop-Loss (2008)

Published on July 11th, 2008 | by Chris

0

Stop-Loss (2008)

Review of: Stop-Loss (2008)

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On July 11, 2008
Last modified:October 6, 2012

Summary:

Stop-Loss is a well-acted film. Performances are good all around, for the most part. Nobody inparticular comes to mind as standing out as bad, anyway. I also have to drop kudos to the writers and director, for *not* letting Brandon and Michelle get romantically involved. I thought for sure that they'd head down that road and make a distracting complication to the story. Thanks.

Stop-Loss (2008)When you go into a movie expecting less, and wind up getting way more, that's usually a good thing (I need to start watching every film this way!) and Stop-Lossis no exception.

Honestly, from what I'd heard I was expecting a Redacted-style bash-fest. Thank God that's not what I found. Stop-Loss is a film that, at its core, could have been made in 1991, 1969, 1952, or 1945. Its a story about the veteran coming home, and the trials he faces as he returns a changed man, to a world that he vaguely remembers, but no longer quite fits in the same way. Alright, I'll concede that there is another aspect to the story of Stop-Loss, but we'll get to that later, as it really isn't that important to getting the most from this picture.

After errantly leading his squad into an ambush in Iraq (even *I* was like, "Don't drive into the alley! It's a trap! Duh!) and losing a few of his men, Staff Sergeant Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) returns home to his west-Texas hometown with his soldiers-in-arms and friends Steve (Channing Tatum), Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and "Eyeball" (Rob Brown.) He and his buds are hailed as heroes, a role which they really don't seem to fit.

The first night back it's painfully clear that these guys returned different from when they left. From Steve's drunken flashback, digging a foxhole in his girlfriend Michelle's (Abbie Cornish) front yard, to Tommy, who drinks himself into a stupor from which he'll never return. Both of these guys wind up on the outs with their girlfriends, which only complicates matters.

Still there is Brandon, who remains the most level-headed among them. He's done, you see. His tour is up, and he's ready to return to life on the ranch. But Uncle Sam has other ideas, and the drama begins. He's "a victim" of the military's "Stop Loss" policy, which basically means that they've got him and there's nothing he can do about it. Furious that he'll have to return to Iraq and face more of the same, he blows up at his CO, and makes a run for it as he's led to the brig.

He and Steve's Ex, Michelle decide to make the road trip to Washington, to find the Senator who pinned the Bronze Star on his chest. But now that he's AWOL, and a fugitive, nobody seems to want to help him, and after a few episodes and mis-adventures, he eventually returns home....

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that none of the above really matters. This isn't about the road-trip to DC. It's about returning from war, and dealing with the evil and terrible things you've had to deal with, and be a part of. From Steve's decision to continue his military career and start sniper school, to Tommy's eventual suicide, and Brandon's running from his situation.... That's what its about. That's what you should take away from the movie. All the political crap that starts the picture, the whole "stop-loss policy sucks" thing, and the closing frames where the film is basically ruined by a couple of title frames whining about said policy.

Speaking of the end of the picture. Maybe I missed something, but I just don't understand it. (Spoiler Warning!) We really needed to get some insight into *why* King decided to turn himself in and resign his fate to the Army. The "thousand-yard stare" while he's sitting on the bus, with even more fresh recruits from his hometown really doesn't tell us anything. Did he just decide that he couldn't run forever? That he couldn't leave his family? After all of that, he just says, "Er, yeah, you're right, my bad" and goes back to "the shit?" I just don't get it. Maybe its supposed to be up to us to figure out why he did it, if so it just didn't work for me.

Stop-Loss is a well-acted film. Performances are good all around, for the most part. Nobody inparticular comes to mind as standing out as bad, anyway. I also have to drop kudos to the writers and director, for *not* letting Brandon and Michelle get romantically involved. I thought for sure that they'd head down that road and make a distracting complication to the story. Thanks. (Actually this point is touched on during the "deleted scenes" commentary on the DVD.)

Watch Stop-Loss for the drama of the story, in that respect its a very good film, but only if you ignore the "premise" of it all.

Stop-Loss Stop-Loss
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Description

Decorated Iraq war hero Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) makes a celebrated return to his small Texas hometown following his tour of duty. He tries to resume the life he left behind with the help and support of his family and his best friend, Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum), who served with him in Iraq...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Paramount Pictures
Manufacturer: Paramount / MTV
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Ryan Phillippe
  • Abbie Cornish
  • Channing Tatum
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Movie that will open your eyes to some pretty heavy realities of being a Soldier and fighting for your Country., July 30, 2017
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This review is from: Stop-Loss (Amazon Video)
This was a very hard movie to watch. I honestly never felt like ANY of it was fictitious. They should not have chosen the actors they did to play those characters because they did a DAMN Good job at making me realize that this was NOT just another made up War Movie with a fictitious story line. There is no way it could have been. There was just too much Reality and Facts built into the story and the acting... Superb. At the end of this Movie there is nothing that lead me to ever believe this was a FICTICIOUS STORY. This movie made me afraid to be alive in this world today, afraid to know that our Countries Sons, Grandsons, Brothers, Husbands, Nephews, Friends and Daughters are being subjected to this type of life for way too long! Subjected to act as a killing machine and be involved in so much violence and killing for years, and then enduring a heart wrenching decision between your sanity, family, and your life all due to a technically illegal Stop Loss!? It would drive anyone... Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative armed forces movie., October 28, 2016
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This review is from: Stop-Loss (Amazon Video)
Very informative and scary for those who served their time and fulfilled their armed force contract. With the current controversy in California about re-enlisted sign on bonuses given to the national guard personnel, and forced to pay back the sign on bonuses it is a relevant movie. I think in the current newscast Secretary Defense Carter has rescinded the payback or claw back request that somebody in the Pentagon Brass was requesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, June 4, 2017
By 
Big T (Federal Way, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stop-Loss (DVD)
Excellent movie, good anti war film.
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Stop-Loss (2008) Chris

Summary: Stop-Loss is a well-acted film. Performances are good all around, for the most part. Nobody inparticular comes to mind as standing out as bad, anyway. I also have to drop kudos to the writers and director, for *not* letting Brandon and Michelle get romantically involved. I thought for sure that they'd head down that road and make a distracting complication to the story. Thanks.

3.5


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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