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STOP-LOSS, 2008
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STOP-LOSS MOVIE POSTER
STOP-LOSS
Movie Review

Directed by Kimberley Peirce
Starring Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum, Timothy Olyphant
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.

REVIEW:

Stop-Loss is Kimberly Peirce’s long-awaited follow-up to “Boys Don’t Cry (1999).” It arrives in theaters in the midst of the United States invasion of Iraq war. As of this review we have just marked the 5th anniversary of that war and so far there have been over 4,000 American military deaths. And the troops will end up staying where they are a lot longer, at least until the next president’s inauguration.

It's a film for the present time but what is remarkable about Stop-Loss is that it's also a film that will stand the test of time for years to come. And that's a fantastic feat.

Iraq movies don't bring people to the cinema. All of the recent films about this war have been complete bombs at the box office. And I'll assume that this film won't drive people to their local cinema to see this film either (if it's even playing). It brings up topics and discussions that people don't want to even think about, including this reviewer who admittingly tends to focus on his world instead of the entire world.

We enter the film with your usual Platoon soldier male bonding. These boys have been through a lot and there is obvious love for each other. A lot of these young men are from the same area in the U.S., this group being Texas. They are all forced to grow up in their surroundings and typically you can grow up only so far as the development of being a man needs much more time to mature.

So some of these boys who've survived finish their tour and head home. Some are going back and others are finished their Army run -- or at least they think they are.

Ryan Phillippe plays the lead character Brandon King who has been Stop-Lossed. Meaning that they are forcing him to go back to another tour in Iraq eventhough his time has officially been completed. He reacts, ends up going A-wall and tries to figure out what he's going to do. Run for life or go back to a war he's not certain is really necessary or at least is being game-planned properly by his superiors. You can see why the Army wants Brandon King. He's a born leader who brings out the best in his Army friends and everyone seems safe when he's around. But Brandon has now become a slave to the United States and he doesn't like it.

This is a really good film. Brandon and his friend's girlfriend end up venturing on a road trip not for a true destination but metaphorically it's a journey to finding out who they really are and what they really can let slide in this otherwise very gray world.

Pierce doesn't try to answer all the questions that she raises in this film because she can't. The world is just too complicated. But Brandon needs to figure out what he truly believes in order to make the biggest decision in his life. And that's why this is a universal film that will stand the test of time. It's themes are present now in our life no matter the situation and they will always be present in our life.

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