Jeanne and I attended Stop-Loss last Friday. We both liked it quite a bit. She gave it an 'A-'; I awarded it a 'B'. We were in agreement on the strength of the acting. Ryan Phillippe's performance should garner him a nomination or two. It's certainly the best performance I've seen in 2008.
Phillippe hinted at this type of potential in films such as Cruel Intentions and Crash. But in this instance, he puts it all together. He delivers both passion and subtlety to great success and his take on the Texas accent and military bravado seem perfect for the characterization.
Jeanne liked the overall execution. I thought the writing fell a little bit short in the third act. I found the narrative floundering as Phillippe's Brandon King met with resistance in his quest to overturn his stop-loss status.
It's the first good film I've seen that deals with this version of the war in Iraq. Three Kings was good (far better than Jarhead) in its depiction of Desert Storm, but the field is still wide open on this conflict. It's got some gripping war footage in the first act, but all of that pales in comparison with the depictions of these soldiers struggling in their adjustment to life back in the United States.
It avoids excessive proselytizing and sticks to the hot-button issue of the stop-loss policy, what King calls a "backdoor draft" in one charged scene.
It's a good movie and, like most war films, fares much better on the big screen than in your living room. Take a look at it and then go to the yahoo forum to get a feel for the politicized views on this movie. Lots of emotion in there.
I watched Mulberry Street last night. I'd give it a C. Lots of good effects. Very little characterization.
This weekend we get some tired themes in Prom Night and Street Kings. I'd like to check out The Visitor...