SXSW Review: Stop Loss

March 15, 2008

My expectations were pretty low going into this one and the movie didn't even meet those expectations. To me nothing was appealing in the trailer or plot synopsis that I read heading into Stop Loss. I'm not a Ryan Phillippe or Channing Tatum fan, so other then Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I was almost dreading sitting through this. Turns out that this was exactly what I thought it would be - an uninteresting look at army soldiers who have come back from Iraq war.

Stop Loss is mostly about Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) just having returned from Iraq thinking his term had been completed. When he returns to base to turn in his stuff and get his release papers signed they tell him he has been stop-lossed, which basically means the government is forcing him to return to war for an undisclosed amount of time. Furious and unwilling to obey his orders, King goes AWOL and begins a mission to fight against returning to war against his will.

We were actually able to hear some comments from director Kimberly Peirce before the movie started. She talked a lot about how we have had more of a glimpse into our troops at war than ever before. Specifically she talked about the video montages that troops have made and brought back to show friends and family. Watching those and being affected by them, she wanted to integrate those into the film. Unfortunately, these fake videos she put together for the film seemed to serve no purpose other then being very gimmicky.

No one stood out in the film with any great performances. Like I said above, I'm not a Phillippe or Tatum fan and they didn't change my mind in this. I am a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but he barely had any screen time, which I was extremely disappointed about. Although I'm not a fan of Phillippe, I can take him or leave him. However, Channing Tatum should bow out of film and be banned from ever acting again. He is so wooden and uninteresting no matter what character he plays.

One of my least favorites of SXSW, I definitely wouldn't suggest this to anyone. A film made up of poor performances, overplayed gimmicks, and a muddled meaning. This will probably do well due to Phillippe's star appeal and its mix of anti-war and fulfilling your duty messages. Skip this one if you can.

Stop Loss

Find more posts: Movie Reviews, SXSW 08



Ken i normally like your reviews but this one ....not so much. It all seemed like you made your mind up before you went in. And it also seemed like you didnt like it just because you dont like the actors. The only person whose acting you said was bad was Tatum. So was the movie good? What about it was bad? I thought this looked interesting although i think it would do bad in theaters due to the topic.

Heckle on Mar 15, 2008


I love Joseph Gordon Levitt, though this didn't look very interesting to me either. I hope he takes more leading roles in better films.

Zach D. on Mar 15, 2008


Ken you seem to be way off on your take of this movie. Then again it is YOUR opinion. I like Phillippe and have been a huge fan of his since The Way of the Gun, he has such a strong on screen presence. I think that this is the film which will finally give Tatum some credibility. I am glad that there is a film that focuses on this type of topic. I wish that Jarhead would have had more of the book that covered life for the troops after their time in Iraq. I think that maybe you had not gotten enough sleep, caffeine or liquor in your system before seeing this film which can happen at SXSW and you may have went in with a poor view of the film.

Napier's News on Mar 15, 2008


Napier's News - Your kidding right? You said, "... this is the film which will finally give Tatum some credibility". There is not enough experience or enough time in acting classes that could teach Tatum how to be a credible actor. I put him in the same lump as Hayden Christensen who is only a tad bit worse then Tatum. As for your comment, "... covered life for the troops after their time in Iraq" I didn't find they way she covered their time back from Iraq. I found it to be very unbelievable. Every single one of them was hallucinating and basically unable to function in society again. I have known a few guys that came back from Iraq and they didn't act anything like the soldiers in this film, not in the slightest. Digging holes in front yards, seeing bodies in pools and hitting their girlfriends. Sorry but I didn't buy it. You were right about one thing though. You said, "I think that maybe you had not gotten enough sleep, caffeine or liquor in your system before seeing this film...". The only way this film could have been better was to have had so much liquor that I would have passed out and slept through the whole movie. This is just MY opinion, though it seems like a few others agree with me. Check out the review from will have their review up soon which I know wasn't a very good one either.

Ken Evans on Mar 15, 2008


I know it's different reviewers involved, but it seems weird that Doomsday can be given a semi-positive review and get 5/10, and yet this film gets an almost universally crappy review and gets 6/10.

Robert on Mar 16, 2008


I won't be seeing this film-I simply can't stand Levitt (other than his work on 3rd Rock,of course)-I find his acting rigid and just horrible-I mean,that pic you've got up there-look at his face,that's how he looks like in every scene,not the expression,but mainly the way his face looks so fixed to display a certain look and in every scene he turns out unnatural.Kudos for brave film choices,but that doesn't make him a good actor.

twispious on Mar 17, 2008


yur dumb as shit ken! how can yu fully sit behind yur cumputer and dog a mvoie that is so great. If the acting sucks so what the story line is great. yu walked in the threatre already hating it so obviously even if it was gunna be good yur head was still going to not like my question for yu is WHT THE HELL DID YU GO!?? yu clearly have no media taste..cheers!

Sall on Mar 19, 2008


Sall - It was hard to read your spelling but I think I understand your comments. You are trying to say that a great story line makes up for bad acting. I don't really agree with that, but I would say that sometimes a great story makes bad acting bareable. This is not the case for Stop-Loss. The extremely mediocre story didn't help me enjoy this. As for walking into the theater already hating it, that just not true. What I said in my review was that my expectations were low. Usually that means I will come out of a film liking it since I wasn't expecting much. However, in this case it was so boringly awful that it couldn't even meet the low expectations that I had. If you already saw it and enjoyed it then great. I on the other hand thought it was a mess.

Ken Evans on Mar 20, 2008


I thought the movie sucked. Does everyone in Hollywood hate the United States of America? This movie sucked because it was way too political and not at all believable. Stop-loss doesn't even work the way they portray it, so it is essentially a twisted lie about how the Army works designed to make America look bad. If you have to lie to make your point then you have no point. I wish I could get my money back.

Stop-Loss Sucks on Mar 21, 2008


One of the biggest block buster of the year. I like this war movie. Its the best war movie ever. I download it from the torrent in dvd result.

Country Shows on Nov 19, 2009

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