Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stop-Loss DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Drama about Iraq War’s Emotional Toll Released on DVD

After serving in Iraq, Staff Sergeant Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) returned to Texas a decorated war hero. However, all the accolades did next to nothing to ameliorate the deep emotional toll taken on his psyche by the months on end spent engaged in deadly battle.
So, now that the patriotic hoopla has died down, King finds himself plagued by flashbacks. And while his well-meaning parents (Ciaran Hinds and Linda Emond) might be happy to have their son back, they simply aren’t equipped to recognize the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Fortunately, the about to be honorably discharged soldier does have several sympathetic shoulders to lean on in his best friend, Sergeant Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum), and others from their squad also trying to make the challenging adjustment back to civilian life.
Whether designed with a pacifist agenda or simply intended to make the case for a return of the draft, Stop-Loss is a compelling saga which compassionately establishes that veterans of the Iraq conflict shouldn’t have to be wounded physically to be considered damaged goods. And as we find ourselves empathizing with the GIs plight because of the absence of treatment for their psychological trauma, the drama ups the ante by having Brandon informed that he’s just been stop-lossed, and must return overseas.
But instead of reporting back to the base, he impulsively goes AWOL, knowing full well he’s risking jail and a bad conduct discharge. Will the once-admirable patriot really abandon the US, ostensibly forever, or will he bite the bullet and re-up for another tour of duty in the name of God, mom and apple pie?
Well-scripted and convincingly executed, this raw, super-realistic thriller is made all the more riveting by the sense you get that very similar scenarios are likely currently unfolding all across America.

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 111 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Commentary by director Kimberly Peirce and co-writer Mark Richard, 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary, and “A Day in Boot Camp” and “The Making of” featurettes.

To see a trailer of Stop-Loss, visit:

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