DVD Movie Review: STOP-LOSS (2008)

Stop-Loss

I thought I would share another review for a movie that just came out on DVD. I guess there is never enough to watch.

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STOP-LOSS has just been released on DVD and I have been looking forward to checking it out ever since I first saw the trailer.

I was lucky to get a preview copy and so I want to share with you some of my thoughts about the DVD.

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob Brown, and Alex Frost

Release Date: July 8, 2008

Synopsis: Decorated Iraq war hero Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) makes a celebrated return to his small Texas hometown following his tour of duty. He tries to resume the life he left behind with the help and support of his family and his best friend, Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum), who served with him in Iraq. Along with their other war buddies, Brandon and Steve try to make peace with civilian life. 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.

REVIEW

The Story: When I first saw the trailer I had a totally different idea of what I thought the story was going to be. Was I disappointed as to what it really was, not really because I think it was equally good in a different direction. The movie focuses on Sgt. Brandon King’s journey after he gets the terrible news that he has been stop-lossed. In addition, I think the story really touches greatly on the effects that war has on soldiers, and how hard it is for them to assimilate back into life when they come home.

I will say that I would have written the ending differently. It felt a little bit underwhelming and kind of depressing in a way, but I think it still works within the story. Let’s just say that it didn’t bother me to the point where I didn’t like the movie because of it.

Stop-Loss - Phillippe and Channing Tatum

The Cast: I always thought Ryan Phillippe was a really gifted actor and this movie is no exception. He is really committed to his part and I think really captures the essence of Sgt. Brandon King.

Channing Tatum held her own up there as well. Apart from fitting the part physically, I think he brought a big range of emotion to the character of Steve Shriver and I really loved the journey he takes the audience on.

Abbie Cornish plays Michelle, Steve’s girlfriend. I hadn’t heard of her before and was pleasantly surprised. She is really talented and so natural, it was a real pleasure to watch her. Her character gives the audience an external point of view and I think she achieved that.

I have to make a special mention of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is such a fantastic actor and I just feel that in every movie he does, he keeps growing and growing as an actor. I just love watching him. Make sure you keep an eye out for him in Stop-Loss.

DVD Extras: Want to know more about the movie, check out all the special features from the DVD.

Commentary: Commentary by Director Kimberly Peirce and Co-Writer Mark Richard

Featurette: The Making Of Stop-Loss – You get sort of a look into Kimberly Peirce’s journey to making Stop-Loss. The part I most enjoyed was watching her direct a scene from the movie between Ryan Philippe and Victor Rasuk. I found it really fascinating, especially since it’s such a great scene in the movie.

Featurette: A Day In Boot Camp – It shows what the training the actors had to go through for the film. Pretty hard core and really interesting.

11 Deleted Scenes – I just want to write a quick note about these scenes. Turns out a few clips from them were in the trailer. I knew there were some scenes that weren’t in the movie that I had seen in the trailer and it was bugging me. So this is where they went or were left really. In addition, I wish some of them had made it onto the movie, because they were just so nice to watch and made us care even more for the characters. So I’m really glad they were included on the DVD.

Overall: Obviously this is not a movie that’s going to cheer you up, but since I knew what I was getting myself into when I sat down to watch it, I got exactly what I wanted. I really got into the story and the acting and enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. I did mention that I wish the ending had been a little different than what it was, but I can live with it the way it is. So I would say that overall I really liked the movie and would recommend it especially if you are interested in the storyline.