Running Time: 1 hr. 52 min.
Release Date: March 28th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence and pervasive language.
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
JJ Rating: B-
Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) is a member of the army during the ever controversial War in Iraq. He leads his men in pursuit of vigilantes who lead them into the homes of ‘innocent’ people. He loses friends and he does something that haunts him later. Brandon and his friends get to go back to America, back to Texas, to be on leave. When Brandon goes back to return his things to the Army so he can get out, as he planned, he is handed papers that tell him he’s going back. Stop-Loss.
There is nothing that anyone can say that can convince me that after using someone to their fullest and draining them of their talent and humanity, that this person would be requested to give more for a longer period of time. It’s not right.
I like Ryan Phillippe. I think he’s a good actor. I think Channing Tatum is just a pretty boy who may just need to hand in his acting lack-skills and stick with brooding looks for magazines. I have to admit that this go around with Tatum was better than the previous one in She’s the Man. People can say, but he can act…and that would be semi right. He seems to have it with the emotions but there’s something just sorely lacking that he needs to find or go away. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is creepy in this film. It’s a good kind of creepy. He has this ick factor that just grows from the beginning to the end, as in why would anyone want to hang out with him? And then it ended up being more like why didn’t anyone help him? I don’t know why women would want to join the Army. What this movie shows, and from what I’ve heard, war does a tremendous amount of emotional damage that lays dormant and women, let’s face it, are emotional more so than men and to have to deal with whatever is over there on top of that couldn’t be good. I’m not saying men are better at it, I’m just saying why compact more problems? I guess I’m trying to state why damage yourself? Let us protect you, so to speak. What do I know? I think war is dumb, but at the same time I think propaganda about how war is dumb, is dumber.
Stop-Loss does have something going for it, other than Phillippe, that the anti-war message isn’t as prevalent in this film as it has been in films past. That’s not to say that there isn’t some sort of anti war message. I just think it’s funny that World War I and World War II are never mentioned in this “OMG war is evil” line of thinking. ALL war is evil, there is no pick and choose which is and isn’t. At the same time people choose to go and these characters in this film chose to go. They served their time and then they were asked to go back after they served years. It’s not fair.
I like this film for what it showed. It opened my eyes to the term stop-loss. During the scenes in Iraq it showed where the Iraqis run and hide. They hide where innocent people live, and I can only assume that they do that so when they die (which they don’t care if they do or not, for the most part) and take innocent lives with them America can be blamed. War is dirty and that is just a dirty, vile tactic on top on the other vile things that are done.
Other than those three things I couldn’t find anything at all about this film that would make me praise it and tell people to go and see it. It dragged, lacked emotional connection between characters, let alone emotional connection within the script itself and the over use of the F word. I sometimes wonder if writers know there are other words that can get the point across without having to add an unnecessary F word just because. You can have the actors get angry in facial expressions and breathing, no need for them to show it by swearing.
Stop-Loss should have been cut down to a decent viewing time and the script should have been overhauled and the swearing should have been less. But other than that it was an enjoyable film that informed me of certain things I didn’t know about. I am not going to just take the film’s view and that’s that, I have and will continue to research this matter.