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
Another Forgettable Entry in the Iraq War Movie Mill
Kimberly Peirce becomes one of the latest directors to try and only marginally succeed in making a compelling film about the Iraq conflict.
Peirce takes on as her subject the military's stop-loss clause, essentially a back door draft by which the military can use fine print in recruits' contracts to prevent them from getting out once their time is up. Peirce obviously feels strongly about the policy, but what should be a hard-hitting drama feels instead like a rather preachy after-school special. She coaxes a nice performance out of Ryan Phillipe, as the soldier who goes AWOL when his stop-loss clause is activated, but she doesn't fare as well with the rest of the cast. The film suffers from confusing editing, that doesn't always make it clear where characters are or how events are related to one another, and the writing at times is weak as well, with character motivations not coming across as clearly as they should.
I don't know what it is about the Iraq conflict that makes it so hard for filmmakers to make good movies about it. Maybe it will have to be over for a while before anyone can begin to approach it with any success.
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