Stop-Loss’ offers new view of Iraq conflict

Stop-Loss' offers new view of Iraq conflict

by Danielle WallingStaff Writer

While “Stop-Loss” is yet another movie about the war in Iraq, it presents a different take of the conflict. It isn’t exactly about the war and the brutality. This movie deals with the soldiers, the families and how everyone involved in a war is affected.

Ryan Phillippe (“Breach,” “Crash”) plays Sergeant Brandon King who is responsible for leading a team of men while on tour in Iraq. Channing Tatum (“Step Up”) plays Steve Shriver who happens to be Brandon King’s best friend. The two are from a small town in Texas and have known each other their entire lives. They played football, joined the Army and toured Iraq together. Now they want to get out of the Army together.

Their story begins with the men on their last tour of duty. They’re sitting in their barracks singing along to Toby Keith, cleaning their weapons and looking like they are genuinely having a good time.

Things quickly change, though, as the film cuts to them fighting within Iraq. Citizens have guns and are shooting at the soldiers from the roofs, living rooms and kitchens of their homes.

People are being shot, blown up and killed. Several people fighting on both sides of this war died during this particular attack.

However, the story really isn’t about the actual events that take place in Iraq. After this battle, the men get to go home to their small Texas town and get back to the lives they lived before enlisting in the Army.

Steve plans on marrying his longtime girlfriend and both he and Brandon are going to leave the Army for good.

While it seems simple enough to be discharged, things are not as easy as they appear. When Brandon goes to return his uniform, he is informed that he must report for another tour of duty at the end of the month.

When he questions the order, he is informed that he has been stop-lossed. A stop-loss is an involuntary extension of an enlistee’s orders. Since there isn’t a draft and there is a shortage of soldiers, some soldiers can be prevented from discharging.

The rest of the story deals with Brandon’s options about being stop-lossed and what his final decision about his future may be.

This film deals more with the people involved in the war than with the war itself. Viewers are able to see the process soldiers go through upon entering normal society again.

The former soldiers are clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and have to deal with things they dream about and see.

Brandon sees a body floating in the bottom of pool and dives in to save the man, only to discover there is no body. On his first night back in the states, Steve still thinks he’s in Iraq, digs a hole in his front yard and falls asleep in it, complete with his gun. Clearly, soldiers and their families have a lot to deal with upon their return to the States.

Overall, “Stop-Loss” is a powerful movie that really makes the audience stop and think what it must be like for the people going through a war and how much it affects everyone. It shows the bond of brotherhood and how people really depend on each other during the rough times. The film is extremely interesting and presents the audience with a new take on a difficult situation.