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Plot: 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. Runtime: 112 mins Release Date: 28 Mar 2008
Stop-Loss Is Not Anti-War, It's Pro-Soldier (by Erico_77375)
What is bravery? Is it trying to do the right thing while facing death in the process? What is patriotism? Is it selflessly giving to your country your services and possibly your life to protect and idea? What is honor? Is it following through on your responsibilities to others who depend on you? In today's United States Army, these questions aren't merely hypothetical, but the basis of character. Kimberly Pierce understood this when she made her sophomore film Stop-Loss, which is extremely likely to be my favorite film of 2008.Stop-Loss tells the story of a group of soldiers from <more>
Texas who are coming home from Iraq. Just before they see stateside, they encounter an ambush that kills three of their respected brothers. The squad leader Brandon King Ryan Phillippe feels responsible for the deaths. He intends to leave the service for good when he gets back along with his best friend Channing Tatum . This is good news to Brandon's family; his father the great Cirian Hinds was a vet from Vietnam. This is also good news for his friend's fiancé Abbie Cornish , whose love only shadows her loneliness.But when Brandon turns in his gear and paperwork, he is told that he's to ship back out to Iraq on a stop-loss, which he instantly contests with his superior Timothy Olyphant . The result has Brandon on the run as he goes AWOL to find a way out of going. He is aided by his friend's fiancé; he decides his best chance is to convince a local senator in Washington to help him. Along the way, he gets a tour of conscience. He meets the family of one of his dead men, whose brother knows about people who could get soldiers through to Canada. He also goes to see another of his comrades Victor Russak , who was severely wounded in the conflict. And at the end, Brandon must make one of the hardest decisions that anyone will ever have to face.Love it or hate it, this film has be one of the most unusual films dealing with war. It neither sides for the conflict in Iraq or against it, finding the argument to be beside the point. No doubt that Brandon does say something unflattering about his Commander-in-Chief in one scene, but the film makes it's bravest decision in being pro-soldier from beginning to end. We like these guys, we honor their dedication to our country and we only want them to find happiness and safety back home. But we can tell nearly from the start that coming home isn't going to be easy when tensions flare up in unpredictable ways. One of the men played flawlessly by Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to need violence in order to feel normal. The film doesn't hate him for it, nor do we since we know that, in the words of another great movie, he had "a bad war".There is something to be said about the decisions made in this film. In lesser movies, Brandon's decision would be more clear-cut depending on the filmmaker's political views. There would be some who call Brandon's plight cowardice and the film addresses this by allowing Brandon to have more than a couple of emotions. He's not afraid to fight or to die, but has a more interesting reason to resist. And the film doesn't see any easy answer in the options left to him. We see the life of another AWOL soldier up-close. There's nothing pretty about that.A lot of the success of the film has to go to the amazing casting of the film. I have never been much of a fan for Ryan Phillippe , but he might have just converted me. This is an amazing performance of such complexity and earnestness that I was left truly amazed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been a rising independent superstar, completely washing away his child actor days in films that are challenging, playing parts that require his brand of smooth ferocity. This character is important even though he does little for the plot by being a tragic figure. I believe he might see his first nomination for this role. But my favorite performance may also be the most worthy of the Oscar this year: Abbie Cornish. Cornish isn't just throwing diamonds as a young woman in love with an impossible man. Stop-Loss might just be the best military film since Platoon that deals with soldiers as individuals and not part of a strategy board. Kimberly Pierce, whose first and only other film was Boys Don't Cry, sees soldiers in a way that other filmmakers haven't and those filmmakers are almost exclusively male, a few veterans themselves . She declares that she had documented hundreds of interviews with soldiers. This is one of the extremely rare cases that fiction proves to be the better format over documentary. In making this a fictional tale, she can tell a broader story and accompany the emotional journey of all her characters. She did this with her first film, which told the sad story of Brandon Teena. I didn't think that she could have made a better film than that. She has proved that she could and has.All in all, I love this film and cannot recommend this to enough people. It's going to be attacked unfairly by the pro-war crowd who either feel that the film encourages wrong behaviors or weakening morale. In fact, I think that the film shows the real indomitable spirit of the fighting men with honor. But I also find that those who attack movies like these usually think that the best way to support the troops is to keep them in harms way. Stop-Loss isn't a cry to "cut and run". It's a testament that soldiers will remain honorable no matter how they come home. Something that John McCain might keep in mind
thoughts from an army wife....... (by nataliestone_ar)
First I have to explain my situation.....my husband is in Kuwait in holding to go to Iraq for his first tour. A group of us wives/girlfriends saw it last night. We were expecting to shed some tears and instead left angry. Don't get me wrong I loved the movie and will buy it when it comes out on DVD..I DO LOVE HOW IT WILL BRING THE EMOTIONS OUT OF YOU GOOD AND BAD... LET ME EXPLAIN....1. All soldiers are informed of STOP-LOSS when they enlist. I'm sure most don't think that it will happen to them.2. P.T.S.D....what some people have called Gulf War syndrome is REAL and is was well <more>
done in this movie...yes soldiers may beat a wife, get drunk, and yes take their own life. THIS IS REAL!!! Thank you for not sugar coating this!!!! 3. I was very upset in the women in this movie....kicking your husband out of the house after the stress of war.... then turning around and having the nerve to cry as they lower him into the ground.....then a soon to be wife not being able to wait for her soldier to finish one more tour of duty.....A mother helping a son run from what they both know is a duty that can not be helped...that is what he signed up to do.4. Was happy to see that one soldier was able to rise up from all of the pain and loss. To become the soldier that he knew he could be....I also felt sorry for him for not having the support that he needed.5. In real life the AWOL soldier would not have gotten off that easy.....demoted and docked a full months pay.......THIS MOVIE IS PLAYED OUT IN REAL LIFE EVERY TIME A SOLDIER COMES HOME......YOU NEED TO THANK A VET FOR EVERYTHING THAT THEY DO...BECAUSE IF IT WEREN'T FOR THEM WE WOULDN'T EVEN BE ABLE TO MAKE OR WATCH THE MOVIES THAT WE ALL ENJOY OR VOICE OUR COMMENTS ON.
"U.S. Troops killed in war in Iraq"...today's unfortunate headlines (by screenwriter-14)
STOP-LOSS is a powerful film from the first frame to the last and delivers a story of our men and women who are serving in a war which many will not come home from. Why are we in this war? That is not the question here, but of our soldiers from states such as Texas who enlist and want to "make a difference" for their country and who now face a deadly enemy out to destroy them, maim them and send them back to the United States in coffins. STOP-LOSS gives us their stories, their nightmares and their brave attempts to assimilate back into a culture which many find alien, as well as, <more>
incoherent to what they faced in the battles of Iraq.What began IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH takes us to STOP-LOSS, and with a cast of young actors that is out of this world! Ryan Phillippe better be remembered at Oscar time, and Channing Tatum wow, how you have STEPPED UP in this film! , to all the cast who brought home to the screen this film of what our troops have faced/face in Afghanistan and Iraq.Bravo, Kimberly Pierce for giving us this important film to show us what our troops today fear and contend with in war, and their return to the USA in what might be called COMING HOME meets THE DEER HUNTER, but shows you in STOP-LOSS, that "BOYS DON'T CRY", they just continue to serve in Iraq with bravery and valor.
I know the leaders of this country will view Stop-Loss as a work of fiction, but I hope it manages to open some eyes to the incredible pain and suffering our military action in Iraq is causing to a huge cross section of the American public. Not only have 4000 American lives been lost - and 4000 families paid dearly for the greed of the wealthy - but many thousands more have been maimed for life both mentally and physically all because of the liars who convinced the country this was the right thing to do.There are some incredibly powerful acting performances in this film by a group of young, <more>
mostly unknown actors. There is nothing false or unbelievable in any of this film's scenes and the raw emotion comes through with the words, expressions and actions of the perfectly directed cast. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotion - and become angry and what this country has done to a generation of young men and women.I didn't particularly like the hand-held shaky-cam technique used to film the war scenes in Iraq. We've seen this and yes, it's supposed to create a more intense feeling of realism, but it doesn't. It's distracting and makes it harder to follow the action than it should be. I kept hoping they would pull back on it, but they didn't. This is my only real criticism of the entire film and I was glad when things moved back stateside so we could get on with telling the story without letting technique dominate content.As powerful as the performances are of the young men who play soldiers in this movie, the camera sure does love Abbie Cornish. Her role is so pivotal because she represents yet another, deeper level of destruction caused by the war - the people at home who have to cope with the tortured American souls this conflict creates. She steals the scenes in which she appears, and often she doesn't even have to say or do anything to do so. Often her look alone convey more than any words could possibly do.This is a film every American should see - and react to. Stop the damage now! Let's start restoring America's good name in the world and stop being the international bully we've become. We're paying too dear a price in maimed, disabled, dead and scarred American lives. Stop Loss shows it all and if you truly believe the rich in the country are rich enough, do something about it!
Bold, heart-wrenching and very dramatic, this film lashes out on the topic of Iraq war syndrome that many would rather avoid discussing, lest put it on screen. However, Director Kimberly Peirce, who has a brother serving in Iraq, opted to bring her insider-story to expose the human side of those young men, returning home from the war. Oh yes, young men who have now come home, but are still being tested beyond their ability to withstand the drain and strain; each and every one of them continues to be heavily challenged in his search for self identity in regard to the importance of family bond, <more>
the loyalty of friendship, the limits of love, and the value of honor.The story first introduces the audience to a group of young men, operating in the dangerous streets of Iraq. Indeed, a band of brothers who has bonded over time, and who has fought side-by-side and keeping themselves alive by being there for one another. Their loyalty bond is unblemished. We then see the survivors finally returning to their little Texas hometown, welcomed with a Main Street parade and joyous celebrations to crown them as American heroes. But, with the glorious razzmatazz of tributes and show extravaganzas ending, who really cares about these young war veterans? Writer/Director does and her very touching film allows the audience to follow the lives of a few young men, seemingly wounded, either physically or mentally, as they adjust to civilian life. Ryan Phillippe's Brandon has completed two tours; Channing Tatum's Steve has already served one and plans to marry his hometown gal, Michelle. Then, there's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tommy, and many, many others all of them, seemingly no different from their community of young men who had not been to war at least until we observe them closely. So many of them have a lot of healing to do, and like their days spent in Iraq, these young veterans depend on one another's protection, and with one leader keeping them in order. Yes, Brandon is always there for them; always taking charge and never letting them down. Observe the effects war has had on these young men. Study how their families try to reach out to them. And as the story unfolds, the audience, just like these young soldiers, will come to realize that the government's policy has its way of enslaving young soldiers to eternal service. What if Brandon has to be deployed back to Iraq? How would stop-loss affect his life and the lives of those traumatized and hurting veterans he protects? The stories of these young men are very compelling to follow and their feelings are tragic and intense as we examine the camaraderie these young soldiers share. It's about survival as a group; it's about their need and determination to protect each other. And it's about a soldier who feels betrayed by his government. With appropriately edited in flashbacks of horrendous war scenes, the film creates an insight of the causes and effects to the soldiers' traumatic stress disorders. We study their fear, their courage and bravery, their traumatic sufferings, their pride and their hardship. This film also defines the meaning of the film's title, letting the audience see how stop-loss has its rippling bad effects on even the finest soldier. And what we capture from the story is that stop-loss does abuse the faith of soldiers. Brandon is being stop-lossed, Should he AWOL to Canada or Mexico, or should he willingly and dutifully return to Iraq? Young men volunteer to fight a war for different reasons, but ultimately, it's their being inseparable members of their unit, or band of brothers, that would ultimately leave them to decide how they'd deal with the war. Oh yes, it's not hard to see that stop-loss is no different from back-door draft. Does it appeal to those with little else to lose in life, or as a trade-off for criminal pardon, or as a death-sentencing certificate for a already injured illegal alien serving with the US Troops and whose death allows his family members to gain access to 'green cards? Great cinematic realism, phenomenal performances by the cast ensemble, a story well-crafted with solid psychological analysis and depth, and an absolutely powerful, emotional, and heart-wrenching film to watch! It's a film that cries out in "Support of Our Troops".
An Incomprable Journey: from Hero to Fugative (by deanofrpps)
Military Clerk: You have orders to report to the First Brigade. Brandon King: Not me, I'm getting' out today.Military Clerk: You leave on the 22nd, shipping back to Iraq. You've been Stop-Lossed. Brandon King: With the shortage of guys and no draft, they're shipping back soldiers who's supposed to be getting' out. Senator Orton Worrell: Your country needs you to go back. You know it's the right thing to do.Brandon King: Sir, I've always done the right thing. And this is wrong. Stop Loss is the incomparable journey of SSG Brandon King from Irak back home to <more>
Texas. Scenes from Irak alternate between young adult hi-jinx and bloody firefights with Haji, the locals who would send the US packing notwithstanding President Bush's dramatic declaration of victory aboard the USS Kennedy not shown in this film and Toby Keith's song sung off key by the GIs during respite from conflict. As cheerful as they are, even baptizing themselves in a curious mixture of Catholic and Pentacostal rites. the last fire fight with Haji takes out half the platoon and destroys all its equipment.Back Home there's a parade and medals. After receiving a paltry Bronze Star, SSG King renders the type of rambling, disjointed speech many veterans might give to feather merchants US civilians . Superiors upbraid him for not pitching recruiting. What does King care? He's getting out!Boy does he have a surprise in store for him when Colonel "Boot" Timothy Olyphant wants to send him back yonder. "But President Bush says we won the war," protests SSG King.This is the type of movie true supporters of the war might not like to see: the wards of amputees, the crazed survivors and the blood stained bodies of enemy civilians caught in cross-fire between the Hajis and US forces..
Just saw this film in an advance screening and once the tension and threat very real of the opening battle scenes were borne and past, the film grew on me, as the story became one of the soldiers at home: their war aftermath and their war that just won't quit or let them go.It occurred to me at one point this was quite like watching a "Deer Hunter" for the Iraq war. There were certainly similar aspects, including aspects of the soldiers' relationships with each other and with others at home, and in terms of the casualties and injuries that continue to pile up well after <more>
leaving the battlefield.Stop Loss is perhaps a more political film than the "Deer Hunter" was, because of the timing of its release, while the issues of the war in the film are still very much on the boil in the USA. I think it intends to position itself in a relevant and timely place, and time will tell whether it has staying power as a lasting and powerful war or antiwar film.There is enough humanity, good drama and strong acting in this picture that it may deserve a place in the lineup of memorable or important American war films.
'Coming Home' for a new generation (by the_Poppuns)
It's horrible that we need a new one, you'd think people would learn their lesson the first, or hundredth, time they were taught it. But anyway, the movie is pretty good. At the very beginning it reminded me of 'Redacted' and then later 'In the Valley of Elah' and you could say with most movies that that would be a detriment but they're all telling stories about the same subject. So it's not like anyone is copying anyone else.This movie is more movie-ish than those I mentioned. It works as entertainment that sounds wrong as well as being informative. It's <more>
showing you a certain situation people are going through but it's also a "movie", with action scenes, good acting, relationship issues, etc. As I said the acting is good. Ryan Phillipe is I want to say underrated, but maybe he's not rated at all. He's an extremely good looking person who could have just been in romantic comedies and made some nice money that way, but instead he's carved out an interesting resume for himself. He does some of his best work here. Joseph Gordon Levitt, everyone's favorite young indie actor, shows up here as well, although he has a smaller role than he normally does. He and the rest of the cast were also really good. Ciaran Hinds makes an interesting cowboy, btw. I wouldn't have guessed that. The only problem I may have had with the film is that I didn't like the ending. But that doesn't take away from the fact that I think this is a well-made movie.The film is serious. It'll probably be depressing for most people. But hey life is depressing right now. Especially for people involved in this situation and maybe those folks should consider whether they should really watch it or not. Because I would think they'd want to escape that reality. The people who aren't paying attention to what's going on should see it. I'd have less problem recommending this to them. I think it's the least likely of the Iraq based movies to offend anyone. It's got a few violent war scenes but nothing over-the-top or terribly graphic. It's just basically wave at you saying "hel-lo, this is the stuff you're trying to ignore but should really be paying attention to.' There is a normal amount of cursing and no naked people that I can remember.If you haven't been watching the Iraq war centered movies, it's time you saw one and this would probably be the easiest to take.
Can you think of a time when the light at the end of the tunnel is what keeps you going? But just imagine, you get to the end, and the tunnel gets longer . . .Let's not talk about the war - the war in Iraq must be one of the most divisive topics around. But you maybe have to talk to the people involved. And if it is your brother, your sister, your son or sweetheart serving, what's most important then? Come home. Know that I love you. Know that I'm proud of you. And for the guy serving? Do my job as well as I can. Hold my head up. Stop my buddies getting killed.Sgt. Brandon King <more>
Ryan Phillippe is completing his last tour of duty. When he gets home he is celebrated as a hero. Happy and relieved. Then, together with several other men, he is 'stop-lossed.' A legal clause that can force a soldier to perform extra active service beyond his initial terms. A Catch-22.Director Kimberly Peirce best known for Boys Don't Cry is expert at teasing out heavy emotional subject matter. "This movie is definitely pro-soldier," she says. "It may not be pro the Stop-Loss policy. But we have tried to honour and to show with great compassion and understanding the unique experience of these brave men and women and the effect that war has, not only on them, but on their families, friends and everyone around them." Written into the contracts, stop-loss still comes as an emotional six-ball. And it's the story of over 80,000 troops since 9/11. The difficulty of adapting to civilian life is compounded by life-and-death duty tours just when you thought it was all over. A girl waiting to marry. Parents praying every night for the safe return of their sons - and having their hopes realised only to be dashed.Stop-Loss is the most pro-troops Iraq war-film I have yet witnessed. You will shed tears for the bravery and commitment even if you are a total pacifist. But the real heartbreaker is for the people who suffer with such uncertainty back home. Iraq action scenes are horrific, bloody and full of complex challenges. But I sat and cried for the waiting women. Their emotional journeys are nightmarish rides into an unsure future."I see it as a unique set of circumstances, not a sweeping indictment of any group, or of the military, or the Administration," says Phillippe some of the criticisms have even been that it portrays the Army too leniently. "Although it does say something about the situation we're in, what's at the heart of the drama is what happens to these guys when they come back home and can't cope."Many films about Iraq have poor attendance seemingly because of low emotional momentum. Not so here. Powerful acting and superb characterisation is coupled with an emotional pile-driver that punches the story-layers with heart-rending intensity. Peirce's soldiers are no sad stereotypes. Based on many interviews, we see how different mentalities cope or fail to cope with the pressure. Nothing feels staged except, perhaps, when Brandon's scar miraculously heals . Abbie Cornish is superb as the fiancée of Brandon's childhood buddy, and her glamorous looks conceal a thoughtful and resourceful young woman. She is determined to do what is right for her and the people in her life. But what anyone can 'do' always faces a balance-sheet of reality. Stop-Loss is a film where ideals take second place to human love, but without being sacrificed in the process.Scenes in Tikrit filmed in Morocco seemed to me as convincing and colourful as those in Texas. Both of them opened my mind. Problems of psychological adjustment that many people have to go through are eloquently portrayed and succeeded in humbling me. War has been romanticised in every age. And we block out the seriousness of post-battle syndromes. Knowing the reality might or might not change our beliefs or make us stop. But sometimes we have to focus on the choices we can take rather than a world we would ideally make.