USA Today - 03/28/2008
"STOP-LOSS features strong performances by Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Victor Rasuk."
Los Angeles Times - 03/28/2008
"STOP-LOSS has a formidable performance at its center in Phillippe's portrait of squad leader Staff Sgt. Brandon King....Phillippe has been finding himself with characters who display an edge..."
Rolling Stone - 04/03/2008 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "The emotional battlefield on which Peirce paints her canvas strikes a universal chord that transcends politics and preaching....[A] raw, riveting movie..."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/04/2008
"Peirce's intention in cataloguing even a handful of the war's staggering home-turf losses is heartfelt."
Empire - 05/01/2008 3 stars out of 5 -- "Phillippe's at his best in the lead role, giving depth and humanity to a characters who could have been a mere cipher....He gets excellent support from Channing Tatum, who never strays into stereotype..."
Total Film - 06/01/2008 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] thoughtful, low-key military drama....An Iraq movie that isn't actually a war movie, more of a state-of-the-nation snapshot."
Sight and Sound - 05/01/2008
"[I]ntellectually interesting....The film is distinctive and worth watching because unusually it presents King's decision not to return to the war sympathetically -- that is, as an act requiring genuine courage."
Director Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON'T CRY) tackles another controversial topic with STOP-LOSS, the story of a U.S. soldier forced back into battle. Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) has just returned to Texas after a harrowing final tour in Iraq. He's accompanied by the remaining men from his unit, all of whom are more than a little shell-shocked. Welcomed home as a hero, Brandon is awarded a Purple Heart by a visiting state senator. But the homecoming quickly turns sour, as each of the soldiers struggles to assimilate back into society. Tommy (Joseph Gordon Levitt) can't lay off the booze, and Steve (Channing Tatum) roughs up his fiancée. Brandon is eager to put the war behind him, but that dream quickly fizzles when he learns that he has been "stop-lossed," or ordered back for another, involuntary tour of duty. Stunned by the news, he goes AWOL and forms a plan to get help from the senator who so recently honored him. He hits the road for D.C., all the while trying to cope with PTSD and battle flashbacks. Torn between his fierce patriotism and what he believes to be outright betrayal by the U.S. Army, he doesn't know where to turn or what to do. He is ultimately faced with the harshest of choices: Iraq, or a life in exile.
There are now dozens of films that grapple with the war in Iraq, but STOP-LOSS is unique in its attempt to reach out to a younger audience. Produced by MTV, the film features a striking young cast and a thumping hip-hop soundtrack. There are many commendable performances, most notably from Phillippe and Levitt. Despite the occasional melodrama of some of the scenes, Peirce pulls no punches, and really hammers home the tragic exploitation of American troops.