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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Film Review: ‘Stop-Loss’ a moving, insightful look into Iraq war veterans’ lives

It didn’t take me long to get turned on to the idea of seeing Stop-Loss – when I saw the cast and the director, I immediately knew I’d like the film.

Stop-Loss is the story of Brandon King, a young, decorated soldier who has just finished serving a tour of duty in the war with Iraq. He looks forward to being able to be home with his friends and family back in his home state of Texas. But King’s dreams are soon dashed when he learns that he has been stop-lossed ordered by the president to serve another tour of duty in Iraq.

King, already dealing with post-traumatic stress from the war, decides to fight against his orders and seeks the aid of a senator from Texas to help terminate the order.

This is the best film so far this year. Ryan Phillippe gives a fantastic performance as King. Other strong performances include Channing Tatum, who plays King’s best friend Steve, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who may have put forth the best performance of his career.

Taking what she learned from her brother, who enlisted in the Army shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, Director Kimberly Peirce creates a story with realistic characters who had me captivated throughout.

It is also extremely accurate in its presentation of brotherhood loyalty. The bonds that these men create while at war are put to the test when they must chose to stay loyal to each other or their country.

The best aspect of the film is Peirce’s choice to incorporate things she learned from Marines she interviewed to make the film more realistic. Pierce studied home videos that Marines had made while in Iraq and recreates them in the film.

Stop-Loss is a masterful depiction of the loyalties we build and the struggles we must endure together.

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