Stop Loss : Movie Review

Any suspicions that Kimberly Peirce was a one-note art house auteur (her first and only feature was 1999's Boys Don't Cry) will be immediately assuaged by the full-throttle war-film assuredness of the opening sequences of her Iraq war film Stop Loss. Shot in part like the homemade videos that modern American soldiers often make of their own experiences (filmed on the battlefield and then edited, usually with pop music soundtracks, on their personal computers), it establishes with smash-bang audacity and authenticity the camaraderie and of an infantry squad serving in Tikrit near the end of their rotation. The combat witnessed is typically brutal, up-close, and all-inclusive (military and civilian) in terms of casualties. Without having to put much of anything into words, Peirce has put her fresh-faced cast (Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) through a meat-grinder of an ordeal that makes it perfectly clear that once these guys are back stateside, patriotic or not, they're done.

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