Saturday, April 4, 2009

Stop-Loss (2008) R - 4 Stars

Now here's a movie I sure didn't hear about when it came out but I really liked it. Great acting and really good story with deep compassion about what it must be like to return home after being beat up in a war. Ryan Phillippe is really good playing highly decorated soldier Brandon King. He's just returning from duty in Iraq where many of his fellow soldiers were ambushed, injured and killed. On the day he is suppose to be released from service, he's told he's been "stop-lossed" meaning he must go back to Iraq and serve another tour of duty, if not he'll be AWOL.

Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Philippe) is serving in the Iraq war and on duty using his watchful eyes in a city where at any time and from anyone - man, woman or child, he could find his life at risk. When he and his fellow soldiers are fired upon in the middle of the city, the two U.S. Humvee's follow in pursuit. As the men drive their trucks into the alley, they realize it's an ambush and three good men are lost in the battle as well as many civilians. Barely escaping with their lives, the soldiers are finally sent home where Brandon is decorated with the purple heart for saving Private Rico Rodriguez (Victor Rasuk), life. In front of friends and family, the men are honored as the try to blend back into their lives before Iraq. But for some of the young men, the sounds of war haunt them as they attempt to lead normal lives.

Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum) is Brandon's best friend and war buddy, engaged to Michelle (Abbie Cornish). When Steve begins displaying unusual behavior, digging a grave size hole in the front yard wearing on his underwear, Michelle calls Brandon for assistance. Tommy Burges (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), yet another affected soldier shows up at Steve's house and they all agree the three need a day alone to settle their heads. But scared by images, they find it harder to fit in and even sleep at night. Leave comes to a close and they return to base as today, Brandon is supposed to be released from the Army. Instead, he is told he's been "stop-lossed" and must return to active duty in Iraq. As he tells off a superior and ordered to the Brigg, Brandon can't live with thought of going back, overcomes his two escorts, and escapes in his Jeep. He's out but now considered AWOL and shows up at his parents ranch. Michele is there and offers to help Brandon by driving him as far away as possible. But hiding from the government is no way to live and Brandon must chose between loosing everyone he loves by fleeing the country or returning to duty where he might loose his mind.

Paramount Pictures, MTV Films
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard
Producer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Roybal, Scott Rudin
I viewed 3/09

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