Strewn story parts pile up in Stop-Loss, a painfully polite Iraq war drama pitched at the MTV generation.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
In some ways, there is a grim, accidental timeliness in the release of Stop-Loss, which focuses on the ordeal of American soldiers in and out of combat.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Stop-Loss can't quite decide whether to focus on making a powerful statement on a controversial and unfamiliar military policy or on a more predictable drama about the traumatic effect of war on young people's lives.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
It's a remarkably entertaining movie, thanks in part to a first-rate cast and a director who knows you can't make a point without calling everyone to attention.
John Anderson - Washington Post
[Director] Peirce wants to leave us with something heavy to ponder, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what that is.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Viewers of any age are bound to be moved by [director Peirce's] primary theme: that there is no easy cure for these damaged young veterans, whether they return to war or fight their demons at home.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
Swamped by cliches, continuity problems, stock characters and very good intentions.
Joanne Kaufman - Wall Street Journal
It's more a sweaty assemblage of dramatic high-points than a coherent, persuasive story of wounded warriors trying to make it.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
Anchored by deft performances from a sturdy ensemble, Stop-Loss provides proof of Peirce's sensitivity with actors as well as her interest in stories of American folk who don't often get the close-ups they should.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
The power of Stop-Loss -- and this is no dumb joke -- is that it shows its hero between Iraq and a hard place.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Pearce attempts to anchor the Iraq War debate in the lives of a specific subset of soldiers and nearly pulls it off. But her promising premise runs into a rut of incompatible accents and melodramatic excess.
Logan Hill - New York Magazine
Stop-Loss is not a great movie, but it's forceful, effective, and alive, with the raw, mixed-up emotions produced by an endless war -- a time when the patriotism of military families is in danger of being exploited beyond endurance.
David Denby - New Yorker
Peirce's obvious respect for the returned soldiers should prevent Stop-Loss from being dismissed as a Hollywood anti-war screed. It's more accurately described as an anti-war movie with a resolutely pro-troop message.
Jessica Reaves - Chicago Tribune
Though its intentions are noble, it's hampered by a stock romantic subplot, a familiar structure, and a lack of symmetry.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
While it would be premature to decorate it as the Best Years of Our Lives or Coming Home of the Surge, Stop-Loss carries the emotional force and propulsive drama of the quintessential soldier's story.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
The story steers away from cliches and political polemics, maintaining a tone of unflinching emotional realism.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
There's a keen and ugly sense of anguish to Stop-Loss, a caged sense of powerlessness beyond political outrage that makes this film far and away the most effective effort yet at capturing the frustration of the war in Iraq.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Stop-Loss goes in too many directions at once, and most of those directions are predictable.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
A wildly uneven drama, by turns sincere and synthetic.
Joe Leydon - Variety
After five years of news footage and documentaries coming from the war in Iraq, Stop-Loss is as phony as a re-enactment with finger pup pets.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
Brilliantly observed and vividly shot, built on a career-making performance by Ryan Phillippe, its an Iraq War movie for Americans whove been avoiding Iraq movies, even the good ones such as In the Valley of Elah.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
The movie is a gripping but very limited view of their lives.
Philip Marchand - Toronto Star
Writer/director Kimberly Peirce has clearly done her homework. What she hasn't done, at least not here, is develop any strong point of view about the war.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
Stop-Loss tries to be about so many things that it addresses none of them adequately.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
Stop-Loss has painted itself into a dramatic corner, which might be the most honest expression of the filmmaker's empathy for the men and women serving in Iraq.
John DeFore - Hollywood Reporter
Peirce (with co-writer Mark Richard) also vacillates between earnestness and superficiality, making Stop-Loss too often feel like eye candy with a message.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
As a nation, we owe them more than they owe us -- as this painfully necessary and heartfelt movie makes abundantly clear.
Richard Schickel - TIME Magazine
Even when the script slips into sentiment, [director] Peirce sticks with her troubled, questing soldiers, and through this raw and riveting movie, they stick with us.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Stop-Loss is a film that does it right.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Mature, violent war drama tackles heavy issues.
Cynthia Fuchs - Common Sense Media
Feverish yet bizarrely apolitical, the movie tries to have it both ways and fumbles its outraged and reconciliatory impulses equally
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Peirce's sincerity and smarts cannot quite defuse the overall didactic nature of the piece.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
Following the harrowing and superbly made opening sequences of hand to hand combat in Iraq, we can feel the frustrations and the anger through the film, and we sympathise. But the film has a confused message ...
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Stop-Loss is a tough film to watch and one that raises issues of concern that travel far beyond the war-torn regions. But whether its message is accurately targeted is for the viewer to decide
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
...once it makes its point, it tends to pile on, never making an entirely convincing drama nor an entirely convincing argument.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
The film gets pretty heavy handed in the last third and is weighed down by an inadequate performance.
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
The reason "Stop Loss" works, unlike its 2007 predecessors, is that it cares more about its characters than it does about making a political point.
Stephen Silver - The Trend
[Peirce's] film looks at the fallout of war in lives lost and lives ruined, pain that has a trickle-up effect on our nation's image of itself.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
It strokes every personal ideal, whatever it is, rather than aligning itself with its characters and letting the conclusions arise out of who they are.
Robert Davis - Paste Magazine
Though it is very message oriented and a little sloppy at times, I found the subject to be really interesting and the opening war scene will blow you away.
Kevin McCarthy - WJFK-FM (CBS Radio)
The war in Iraq has itself become the realization of the shameful "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (it's not just gays and lesbians that are being told to look the other way). Stop-Loss reveals just one ugly aspect of such insidiousness.
Richard Knight - Windy City Times
An honest vocalization of the inchoate discomfort so many Americans on either side of the political divide are feeling.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
But whatever you think about the Iraq war and the people who are fighting in it, you'll be shaken up and moved by Stop-Loss.
Alonso Duralde - MSNBC
Distancing Stop-Loss from other Iraq films by highlighting an American military tactic that has been little talked about, Peirce has crafted a credible but hardly outstanding effort that may disappoint those expecting another Boys Don't Cry.
James Mottram - Film4
Stop Loss takes some time out from the argument over the validity of the war to ask a question closer to home - whether the emotional battlefield America subjects its young soldiers to is actually worth it.
Laura Bushell - BBC
Strong performances from the young cast make a compelling case that the US govt is failing its soldiers, but the film's a little too much of a blunt instrument.
Helen OHara - Empire Magazine
It's the film equivalent of a weary shrug - capturing the national mood at a moment when we'd all prefer some mood enhancers.
Jessica Winter - Time Out
Kimberly Peirce's long-awaited follow-up to Boys Don't Cry is a thought-provoking, emotionally engaging drama that packs a surprisingly powerful punch.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Telling antiwar film as seen through the eyes of those patriotic volunteers who fought in Iraq and are now disillusioned.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews