30 March 2008

Stop Loss (2007) Directed by Kimberly Pierce


Caution: There Be Spoilers

First of all, I think it's awesome that a woman directed this. The first 5 to 10 minutes or so of the film (though it could have been longer), set primarily during an ambush on the squad led by Ryan Phillippe in Iraq, is a tense and well executed bit of action on Pierce's part. It's nice that Sofia Coppola can make an ambitious labor of love about a French queen who enjoys shoes and that Sarah Polley can make a heartfelt tribute to the ageless beauty of Julie Christie, but sometimes it's just nice to find a female director who really knows how to kick some ass. I read an interview with Pierce a while back in which she said she wasn't afraid of blowing things up. In fact, she said she enjoys it.

I suspect that this is partially why Stop Loss is, overall, more succesful than the other recent batch of Hollywood Iraq pictures. Maybe It's unfair for me to say so having not seen Lions for Lambs or Rendition, but the reviews alone indicate that, at least critically, Kimberly Pierce's film is regarded as a better statement about our times and about our present military conflicts. Rather than shaking her finger at the war at large, Pierce chooses to focus on a singe issue and celebrate the military as a group of dedicated citizens while criticizing some of its institutional policies. In its best moments, Stop Loss is less anti-war, more pro-soldier.

I say 'in its best moments', because there are moments in which Pierce can't help but indulge her Hollywood tendencies towards prostelytizing. I WISH WISH WISH WISH WISH that we could put a moratorium on ending films with little facts and statistics. If there's something you want to say in your film, you better make damn sure you say it within the context of your story. You can't just tack some information to the end and expect the audience to absorb it. Half of them are already half way to the exit.

If only the rest of the movie could have been as thrilling as the first section. Perhaps it was inevitable that the rest of the film would feel like a let down after the heights reached in the beginning, but I think the problem reaches deeper than that. The film is still working at a pretty good level as the soldiers return home and struggle to readapt to their life. But, after Ryan Phillippe's character is stop lossed and he hits the road, the film kind of loses focus. He heads to D.C. to appeal to a senator he knows, but I never really bought that as a viable option. The story kind of derails here as he goes from stop to stop on the road to nowhere, only to end back where he started.

Ryan Phillippe is definitely the star of this movie. He may have not bowled me over, but he can definitely open a film as the lead. Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon Levitt both deliver pretty solid turns as well, with Abbie Cornish backing them up as Tatum's fiance and Phillippe's traveling companion while on the run. Also, is Margo Martindale trying to be in every movie? She has the market cornered on Southern office staffers.

So, overall, is it worth seeing? I would say yes . . . but that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to rush out. The scenes set in Iraq might work a little better on the big screen, but the rest will play just as well at home. Don't be scared off by the war plot line, though. Rendition 2 this is not.

BY THE WAY, THANK YOU Kimberly Pierce! Thank you for not having Phillippe's character hook up with Abbie Cornish. Thank you for avoiding that obvious trap that SO MANY directors constantly fall into.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello!

This is totally off subject but here goes:

I don't know if you know this yet but as you haven't mentioned it on your blog (no offence, but for ages!) I thought you would find it interesting...

http://2008.bloggies.com/

I won't tell you what it's about... I think it will be a nice surprise for you!

Congrats :P

Rural Juror said...

http://theruraljuror.blogspot.com/2008/01/so-umm-im-up-for-bloggie.html

Ah contraire, my friend . . . ah contraire

I would have mentioned it again had I won . . . but, ya know

barb michelen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I will not approve on it. I over precise post. Expressly the designation attracted me to be familiar with the whole story.

Anonymous said...

Genial dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

Anonymous said...

words chicklets noamount char replicable nabros overdo babaniyazov spirituality rakesh collective
servimundos melifermuly

Anonymous said...

intensify hallnew mindful hernia collar clinoleic authenticity hyphen achievement evolved feet
servimundos melifermuly

Anonymous said...

Hello all


Safety is always Mansour Engineering highest design goal. Layout, materials, systems and processes are selected or specified to meet or exceed code compliance.

[url=http://www.mansour.ca] click here to go to Mansour Engineering[/url]


http://www.mansour.ca

Anonymous said...

Hi


Why should you pay ebay when you can sell your new and used products FREE on http://www.BuySellDirect.net


Do your self a favorite buy using http://www.BuySellDirect.net FREE service to make a second income.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon

[url=http://www.internetmosque.net ] audio Explanation of the English only Quran (for the first time on the internet) [/url]


"What is the makeup of The Muslim World?"

The Muslim population of the world is around one billion. Most Muslims live east of Karachi. 30% of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20 % in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab world, 10% in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan comprise 10% of the non-Arab Middle East. Although there are Muslim minorities in almost every area including Latin America and Australia, they are most numerous in the Soviet Union, India, and central Africa. There are 5 million Muslims in the United States.

For more details [url=http://www.internetmosque.net ]click her[/url]






|

All of us will die one day INCLUDING YOU.

so before you die you must find out where the HELL you are going too.

You must find out

who is our savior Jesus or ?

You may sleep tonight and never get up in the morning?

You may die today.

You may die within a week

You may die within a month

you may die within a year

you may die within the next ten years

one thing for sure

You will die

so find out how is our savior so that he may save you.

http://www.internetmosque.net/saviour/index.htm

http://www.internetmosque.net/songes/s/1.htm

http://www.internetmosque.net/songes/s/17.htm

http://www.internetmosque.net/

http://www.internetmosque.net/quran/quraneng/index.htm

http://www.internetmosque.net/audio...n_Yahya/1_w.htm

http://www.internetmosque.net/audio...f-Estes/1_w.htm

http://www.internetmosque.net/audio...ilips/1-1_w.htm