Stop Loss Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.