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Movie Review: Stop-Loss

Alternate Title: Boys Do Cry

Story: Director and writer Kimberly Peirce should make more films. It has been nine years since her sensational Boys Don't Cry and it is wonderful to have her back.

I hope this thoughtful film about the nightmare of stop-loss does not go into Iraq war film cinematic oblivion as so many of the other films about Iraq have done. Stop-loss is an involuntary extension of an enlisted soldier's contract, ordered by the President. Over 650,000 troops have served in Iraq. 81,000 have been stop-lossed.

Peirce explores three childhood friends from Texas who come home after their tour thinking service to their country is over. They are stunned to find they have been stop-lossed and are being sent back to Iraq. How the three protagonists deal with this news is the heart and soul of the story. Ancillary plots concern the post traumatic stress they all experience, their hospitalized buddies and their effected surviving families and loved ones. Peirce knows how to portray outsiders and these soldiers are coming home to something that they are just not equipped to handle.

This is not a polemic for or against the war. But it is dedicated to the soldiers who are fighting this war and it is the most moving film I have seen to date on this subject. I cared deeply about all of the characters. It is also one of the saddest films on the subject to date.

Be brave - check it out.

Acting: Ryan Phillippe gives his best performance to date. He holds the conscience of a nation on his face. Channing Tatum as one of the three friends is much more than the hulk of a soldier he appears to be. A fine acting job, indeed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives another solid performance in his deserved blossoming career. Abbie Cornish, as the girlfriend reminded me of Charlize Theron in her earlier days. Gritty.

Predilection: None

Critters: A rattlesnake

Food: The same rattlesnake.

Sex Spectrum: Stop-loss does not do much for a soldier's sex life.\

Blatant Product Placement: An Apple computer

Soundtrack: MTV co-produced the film so there is a lot of music. The spectrum includes heavy metal, middle eastern tunes, alt-pop, Southern rock and everything in-between.

Opening Titles: We are thrown into Tikrit in the middle of a road block and then some directly into heavy action. Credits are at the end.

Theater Audience: A handful of people.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: There are many squirmy scenes, especially the war scenes and flashbacks.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I used one tissue. I was moved.

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Soap Box: So much to say on this topic. If you are interested in some of my political rants check out my blog at http://www.judylobo.wordpress.com/

Big Screen or Rental: You get a good idea of how long this war has gone on from the number of films already distributed on the topic. Here are some of them: Lions for Lambs, Jar Head, The Tiger and the Snow,Valley of the Wolves. Home of the Brave, Redacted, Battle For Haditha, The Hurt Locker, Rendition, Brace is Gone, In the valley of Elah, Uncovered: the war on Iraq, In the Shadow of the Palms, American Soldiers, The War Tapes, Iraq for Sale, The Ground Truth, My Country, My Country, When I Came Home, I am an American Soldier, Buying the War and the wonderful No End in Sight

Length: Under two hours