This film was a surprise to me. Having seen a fair amount of films in my time and being someone who likes to keep up with film news and releases I was surprised when a friend said we should hang out and watch one of his favourite films on blinkbox.com Stop-Loss; a film I hadn’t heard anything about.
Generally I have some concerns about going to see a film I know absolutely nothing about (I didn’t even know who starred in it), but to my relief the film was pretty damn good and had a stellar cast.
…he has been selected for Stop-Loss…
The film centres on U.S Army Staff Sergeant, Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe), who after his tour in Iraq comes home with his tired and emotionally shattered friends who were in his unit. Returning to Texas with his Buddies (Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) they settle back into their idyllic hometown by drinking, partying and being happy to have finished their horrific tour.
However, when Brandon goes to get discharged at the local army base, he finds that he has to go back for another tour as he has been selected for Stop-Loss, a policy where the army can extend soldiers’ active duty service obligation. Feeling really annoyed that he has been betrayed after all of the horrors he endued (seeing his friends die and unfortunately killing civilians by accident) Brandon goes AWOL with his best friend’s girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) who is angry as her boyfriend wants to join the army again as a sniper.
…the film desperately highlights the plight that war veterans have to endure…
With amazing performances from Phillippe, Levitt and Tatum the film desperately highlights the plight that war veterans have to endure. The loss of friends and the idea of going to an inhospitable place where you could be killed at any minute is portrayed vividly thorough Brandon’s destabilizing mental health.
…a human approach to the feelings of war…
The director, Kimberley Peirce, has obviously done her homework when coming to the subject matter of the film. From the harsh urban environment of Iraq to the warm Texas nights the film delivers a human approach to the feelings of war. Through families, pain and suicide it is a poignant look at the practice of what is still going on within the U.S. Army.
I wouldn’t say it was the happiest film, but it left me wanting to know more and if the idea doesn’t hook you then see it for the immensely good looking leading actors. Phillippe is 37 and looks like he did Cruel Intentions yesterday. He obviously drinks the blood of virgins.