Stop-Loss

0
0
Subscribe to Abbie Cornish alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th March 2008

Box Office USA: $10.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $11M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Peirce Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 90 Rotten: 49

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Ryan Phillippe as Brandon King, Abbie Cornish as Michelle, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tommy Burgess, Channing Tatum as Steve Shriver, Josef Sommer as Senator Orton Worrell

Stop-Loss Movie Review


Any suspicions that Kimberly Peirce was a one-note art house auteur (her first and only feature was 1999's Boys Don't Cry) will be immediately assuaged by the full-throttle war-film assuredness of the opening sequences of her Iraq war film Stop-Loss. Shot in part like the homemade videos that modern American soldiers often make of their own experiences (filmed on the battlefield and then edited, usually with pop music soundtracks, on their personal computers), it establishes with smash-bang audacity and authenticity the camaraderie and of an infantry squad serving in Tikrit near the end of their rotation. The combat witnessed is typically brutal, up-close, and all-inclusive (military and civilian) in terms of casualties. Without having to put much of anything into words, Peirce has put her fresh-faced young cast (Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) through a meat-grinder of an ordeal that makes it perfectly clear that once these guys are back stateside, patriotic or not, they're done.

Like In the Valley of Elah -- which this film occasionally seems like an MTV/Varsity Blues pop variation of -- most of Stop-Loss is set back in the States. The war is seen mostly in flickers and video-montages, the kind that keep a man up at night. In one particularly grueling scene set at a military hospital, a hideously scarred soldier missing two limbs confides that at night his ward sounds like a horror movie, with all the nightmares and screaming. Also like Elah, Peirce's script (co-written with Mark Richard) is steeped in oorah military brio and discipline, where there is little questioning of war itself. Stop-Loss is, however, a message movie, and no matter how artfully Peirce directs her cast and tries to avoid any sense of political polemic, there's just no avoiding that message, a fact that nearly scuppers the whole film.

The message of Stop-Loss is one that few on either side of the Iraq debate would argue, that the practice of the film's title -- where soldiers can have their term of service extended indefinitely in order to make up for falling recruitment levels and there being no draft -- sucks. Once the rattled squad is returned home to Texas, amidst a blizzard of flags and cheers, they seem held together with little more than duct tape and battlefield bravado. It's not hard to believe, then, the swiftness with which the formerly gung-ho squad leader Brandon King (Phillippe) reacts to the news that he's been stop-lossed and is getting sent back to Iraq. On being told by his commanding officer that it's the President's right to keep soldiers serving as long as he wishes, King (a good Texas boy and patriot who'd clearly rather light himself on fire than disrespect his country) responds, "With all due respect, sir, fuck the President."

Things go downhill after that, both for the film and for King, who goes AWOL and takes off cross-country with his best friend's ex-fiancée (Aussie actress Abbie Cornish) on a half-baked, quixotic mission to get his senator in Washington to help him. The road-film being the hoariest of screenplay devices, it wears thin fast, quickly losing the impressive momentum that the first quarter of the film had attained. By separating King from his squadmates, most of whom are undergoing some form of PTSD meltdown, Peirce also loses the cast's organic-feeling camaraderie (not to mention giving short shrift to some heartbreaking work by Gordon-Levitt), one of the best things her film had going for it.

In Stop-Loss, Peirce (whose brother served in Iraq) certainly does right by the soldiers (real and imagined) in terms of not resorting to cheap polemic from one side of the debate or the other. But even her impressive handling of the actors, a pop approach that's glossy without being shallow, voluminous background research, and some glorious cinematography by Chris Menges can't obscure the problems of a seriously dithering screenplay. It's not to say that Peirce should have rushed into something after Boys Don't Cry, but after seeing the honorable intentions but flawed results of Stop-Loss, it's possible that nine years was perhaps too long a gestation.

Aka Stop Loss.

What we need in here are some of those MIT card counters.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Abbie Cornish alerts

Comments

Stop-Loss Rating

" OK "

Advertisement

More Abbie Cornish

Entourage Trailer

After making a name for themselves in Hollywood, Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends from Queens have finally made a movie. The only problem...

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin [Live] Video

Meghan Trainor performs her latest single 'Lips Are Movin' at one of her favourite places in the world: an aquarium. The song features, alongside smash...

Bastille - Things We Lost In The Fire [Live] Video

Live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta, Bastille perform 'Things We Lost In The Fire', the final single from their debut album...

Bastille - Oblivion [Live] Video

Bastille perform their single 'Oblivion' live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta. The track followed Platinum hit 'Of The Night' and featured...

Advertisement

HAERTS - Interview Video

Brooklyn band Haerts released their self-titled debut album this year, and here they talk about how they first got into music, their lifelong friendship and...

Mark Ronson - Daffodils ft. Kevin Parker [Audio] Video

Mark Ronson will finally unveil his fourth album 'Uptown Special' on January 26th 2015 through his new label deal with Sony Music. He has teamed...

HAERTS - Be The One [Live] Video

Haerts perform an intimate live rendition of their song 'Be The One', taken from their self-titled debut album released in October 2014 through Columbia Records....

ScHoolboy Q - Hell Of A Night Video

ScHoolboy Q released his first number one with third album 'Oxymoron', and he now unveils the video to its latest single 'Hell Of A Night'...

Advertisement