Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kimberly Peirce's "Stop Loss"

so far this weekend has been a movie-going one. today carlos and i went to see "stop loss" a film by the same director of the stupendous, "boy's don't cry."

Director Kimberly Peirce's last film was the revolutionary, emotionally-charged and truthful "Boy's Don't Cry" with the galvanizing performance of Hilary Swank. That was over 8 years ago and now she has returned with the Iraq War drama, `Stop-Loss" starring a coterie of edgy, hot young actors.
Oddly enough, I think that almost all of the Iraq War based dramas like the recent "Rendition" have been failures at the box office which leads me to wonder, why?
Perhaps, since it is literally happening now, it is too current: the wounds are opening daily with no healing in sight. At the very least, We as Americans are conflicted about our involvement in Iraq.
Peirce has chosen to use the Iraq War as a background onto which she bases her drama with Universal themes of: Where do I fit in? Where do I belong? Do I belong?
Working here with co-writer Mark Richard, Peirce has found a subject in the way the war in Iraq is tearing apart many of its soldiers, in combat and when they return home. This is a wrenching story of men at arms who cannot find peace outside the military circle, who return to civilian life on the horrific edge of violence and despair. This point of view is of course not new, going back at least as far as William Wyler's "The Best Year's of Our Lives" and Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter." War is Hell: this we all know and can empathize with but the aftermath, the coming home, the re-adjusting to Life after War is worse.
Several actors shine here: primarily the Brandon King of Ryan Phillipe (whose stop-loss forced re-enlistment forms the backbone of this film) and the Michele of Abbie Cornish who basically steals the film from under all her hot shot male cast members with her persuasive, thoughtful and totally believable performance.
There are several scenes in "Stop Loss" which approach and sometimes go over the edge into hokiness but overall, this film has a real emotional life: these are characters who emote from a real place, a place that it is obvious that Peirce believes in, invests in and ultimately it is the saving grace of this flawed, yet sock-in-the-gut experience film.
tonight being satuday night it's gay night at a couple of sb clubs: so this guy will be club hopping with the boys tonight.


kay* said...

i've seen the previews for this and want to go and see it. rkyan phillipe (so) is one of the finest young actors in hollywood today (i think) and it'll be nice to see tatum in a serious/mature role.

tyler said...

you need to rent/buy "recognizing your saints" with tatum...heis excellent in it....

Tim in Italy said...

The last US film we got here was Sweeny Todd. Before that, The Devil Wears Prada. Needless to say, US films about Iraq don't make it over here and I'm sure that's because there'd be no market. I have yet to meet an Italian who doesn't think Bush is insane.

Regarding the films' success, or lack of it, I wonder. US audiences ate up the films of WWII, even when we were loosing. Granted they were not the gore fests that are so often produced today, but I think it's because our enemies of the 40's were pretty clear cut. Today, they are not... have you seen "kingdom of Heaven"? That just popped up on TV over here over Easter and was a huge hit. But it makes a statement I think most Italians agree with.

Take care of yourself!

tyler said...

oh yes, kingdom of heaven: about the crusades with cutey-pie, orlando bloom. that played here about 2 years ago: good movie.
the german film about the stasi in east berlin is on now. lives of others (won the oscar for best foreign film last year): i love this movie, so well done.
take care of myself? i always do sir timothy...or good friends and family to help me...