The corporate line:
STOP-LOSS Policy – The retention of soldiers in the service beyond their expected term. Using a loophole in soldiers’ military contracts to prohibit servicemen and women from retiring once their required term of service is complete. Also widely known as a “Back Door Draft.” “Stop-Loss,” director Kimberly Peirce’s first film since the Academy Award®-winning “Boys Don’t Cry,” is a topical and emotionally penetrating drama examining a government policy that has affected the lives of more than 80,000 of America’s brave men and women in uniform. The enforcement of the Stop-Loss policy makes each of them walk the fine line between doing their duty and doing what’s right. Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) fought for America. He fought for freedom. He fought for his family. He gave everything and then he came home to begin his life anew. But now they want more. They want him back.
Writer/director Kimberly Peirce has a lot to live up to. Her film “Boys Don’t Cry” was brilliant coming out of nowhere only to win numerous awards. Stop-Loss might be coming out of nowhere but it sure isn’t going to be holding out hope for a golden statue. Although much of “Stop-Loss” feels as though it comes from the same vein as “Boys Don’t Cry” it never evokes nearly as much emotion. There are moments where you start to feel Brandon’s (Ryan Phillippe) pain but its never enough to make you fully invested.
“Boys Don’t Cry” and “Stop-Loss” both make you cringe from the injustices that happen to regular people who don’t know someone powerful enough to make their problems go away. Phillippe doesn’t have shoulders wide enough to carry this film and the emotions are never built up enough to keep the audience holding on. The movie fails to keep any consistency–at least enough to make it move quickly.