Like In the Valley of Elah — which this film occasionally seems like an MTV/Varsity Blues pop variation of — most of Stop-Loss is set back in the States. The war is seen mostly in flickers and video-montages, the kind that keep a man up at night. In one particularly grueling scene set at a military hospital, a hideously scarred soldier confides that at night his ward sounds like a horror movie, with all the nightmares and screaming. Also like Elah, Kimberly Peirce’s script is steeped in oorah military brio and discipline, where there is little questioning of war itself. Stop-Loss is, however, a message movie, and no matter how artfully Peirce directs her cast and tries to avoid any sense of political polemic, there’s just no avoiding that message, a fact that nearly scuppers the whole film.
Stop-Loss opened nationwide today. You can read the full review at filmcritic.com.