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Stop-Loss (2008)

 -  Drama | War  -  28 March 2008 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 16,250 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 98 user | 142 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Title: Stop-Loss (2008)

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Cast

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Quay Terry ...
Matthew Scott Wilcox ...
Connett Brewer ...
Curtis (as Connett M. Brewer)
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Storyline

Decorated Iraq war hero Sgt. Brandon King makes a celebrated return to his small Texas hometown following his tour of duty. He tries to resume the life he left behind. Then, against Brandon's will, the Army orders him back to duty in Iraq, which upends his world. The conflict tests everything he believes in: the bond of family, the loyalty of friendship, the limits of love and the value of honor. Written by Paramount Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

soldier | friendship | honor | texas | iraq war | See more »

Taglines:

The bravest place to stand is by each other's side.

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

28 March 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Kimberly Peirce Project  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,555,117 (USA) (28 March 2008)

Gross:

$10,911,750 (USA) (13 June 2008)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title refers to a provision in all military service contracts that says a service member can be involuntarily extended beyond their discharge (from active duty) date, and at times beyond their final discharge from service date, according to the needs of the service. See more »

Goofs

At Tommy's funeral, the worker is shoveling dirt in the grave when they start fighting. The worker leaves, in one shot there is the pile of dirt, two shots later the shovel appears in the dirt pile. See more »

Quotes

[from trailer]
Brandon King: I'm not going back. I'm fightin' this thing.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 29 March 2008 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)
Written by Toby Keith
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Noble Effort
4 August 2008 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Well intentioned, this film tells the fictional story of Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe), an American soldier who, after successfully completing a heroic but horrendous tour of duty in Iraq, is notified that, despite his wishes, he must return to Iraq for yet more combat duty, a real-life contingency called "stop-loss". It's a fate that neither King, nor real-life soldiers, want or deserve, but which the U.S. government justifies in lieu of a wartime draft.

The film's first few minutes provide a montage of images and scenes showing King, and his men, in Iraq, as they bond together as protective buddies, and as they endure a violent urban ambush, during which several buddies get killed or seriously wounded.

Back home in Texas, King and a couple of his men briefly celebrate their hero status. But life for them quickly deteriorates, as their wartime trauma leaves both physical and mental scars. And then, King gets his "stop-loss" notice. This sets up the rest of the film's plot.

The theme here is obvious. The brave soldier, having endured more than enough danger and trauma, is still just a powerless individual. As such, he or she is caught between having to resubmit to the horrors of war, or submit to a perilous and life-altering AWOL status in the U.S., or elsewhere, forever on the run from an overpowering American political system. It's a timely and worthy subject for a film.

That much effort and care went into the creation of the film, from background research to attention to detail in costumes, production design, and military protocol is obvious.

And the film's color cinematography also is quite good. There are lots of close-ups, to get a feel for what the characters are going through. Many scenes feature natural lighting, used in clever ways. At times, the film has an almost documentary look and feel. Acting is overall credible. I especially liked the performances of Linda Emond, as King's mom, and Abbie Cornish, as a young woman who tries to help King.

The major problem is the script. Characters are rather stereotyped and two-dimensional. The plot is fairly predictable. And the story and its attendant theme are a tad too direct. I could have wished for a little more depth, and a plot twist or two. The film's ending is not very satisfying.

Yet, "Stop-Loss" is a noble effort to document the brutality not only of war but also of an American government that uses, then basically throws away, people, to ensure the preservation of an American war industry and continued power of faceless bureaucrats and corrupt politicians.


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