STOP-LOSS (Kimberly Peirce) Rating: NNNN
Here’s a film that has simplistic politics but a ton of style and a terrific performance by Ryan Phillippe as the American soldier who’s been stop-lossed: sent back to the front after he’s completed his tour of duty.
Director Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) tells his story with a unique energy, incorporating image messaging, the key communications tool used by American soldiers in Iraq. The battle scenes use that aesthetic, and these visuals are fresh and absolutely in the moment.
Phillippe shows depth as Brandon, hopelessly conflicted between love of country and his violated sense of fair play.
Peirce keeps the story personal – don’t look for analysis beyond the sentiment that war is hell – but that plus Phillippe’s star power is precisely what could make this the first film about the Iraq war to find a decent audience.