Posted by silentarchimedes on November 2, 2008
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Abbie Cornish
Director: Kimberly Peirce
A quick review on the Iraq War movie, Stop-Loss. Although the movie only grossed $11 million on a $25 million dollar budget, it’s pretty apparent that the low numbers were impacted by the country’s disdain for the war and the setting in of war fatigue. America is still not ready to confront the many negative effects of the war because the reason for the war is unpopular. In a way, it’s unfortunate because the deaths and injuries of the many young soldiers still have not received the honor and attention they deserve. Instead the country has focused on the politics of the war, the economic effects of the war, and the negative treatment of enemy combatants. Stop-Loss is an attempt to address the controversial rule that allows the government to extend a soldier’s tour of duty without his consent. What the movie calls a back-door draft. The reason is to maintain combat strength and readiness in the war zone due to inadequacies in soldier numbers or experience. According to the movie, over 80,000 soldiers have been stop-lossed during the first five years of the Iraq War.
The movie follows Staff Sargeant Brandon King’s return from the Iraq War and then shockingly stop-lossed right when he is ready to begin civilian life again. In leading up to the stop-loss, King realizes that the war has dramatically changed his soldiers and himself. Many of them are having difficulty adjusting to civilian life and patching up previous relationships. These observations contribute to his increasingly disdain for the war and the stop-loss was the ultimate last straw. He escapes from the barracks and becomes a fugitive. The rest of the movie follows his journey in seeking justice and also how he copes with his soldiers, the ethics surrounding the stop-loss, and his love for the country.
Ryan Phillippe and Channing Tatum
This movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, considering all the negative reviews about it. However, it is a very simplistic movie where the story line hinges on King’s belief the stop-loss is unjust. In trying to bring attention to the stop-loss process through the actions of King, the movie fails to develop any supporting characters. King’s best friend, Sargeant Steve Shriver’s actions are stereotypical and somewhat inconsistent at times. Michelle, Steve’s fiance, who joins King on his journey has no personality at all. It’s difficult to understand where her loyalties stand. The movie also fails in expressing the urgency of King’s fugitive status. King and Michelle drive her blue car throughout the entire process without any thought of trying to ditch the car. Any sign of the chase by police is glossed over several times by simply showing a random police car slowly driving around.
The movie is listed as 1 hour, 51 minutes, but it could have been roughly 20 to 30 minutes shorter. Phillippe actually does a decent job portraying King, and what he was given, a character with little actual development and stereotypical Texan life of cowboy hats, rifles, beer, country dancing, etc. Tatum also does a decent job with what he was given with, but Tatum has not fully proven himself as a lead dramatic role.
Rating: 6 stars
Overall, I give Stop-Loss a 6 out of 10 stars.
Posted in Ethics, Movies, Opinion, Politics, Reviews | Tagged: Abbie Cornish, Channing Tatum, Iraq War, Kimberly Peirce, movie review, Ryan Phillippe, soldier, Stop-Loss, war, war movie | Leave a Comment »