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Stop-Loss | 2008 | R | - 4.8.10

Three soldiers who have survived an Iraqi ambush return home to Texas to face life as civilians: two of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and cannot adjust, while the third (Ryan Phillippe) is forced to re-enlist and return to Iraq after his army contract has expired, but refuses and travels America, looking for refuge and answers; the film follows him as he visits the survivors in a VA Hospital and other AWOL soldiers. Also with Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Abbie Cornish, Timothy Olyphant and Ciaran Hinds. Directed by Kimberly Peirce. [1:52]

SEX AND NUDITY 4 - Several men and women in a bar scene kiss and hug briefly (a few of the women wear slightly low-cut tops that show a little cleavage).
 A short, grainy cell phone video shows a young woman opening her blouse to briefly reveal a pink bra; a young man looks at the picture and says the woman is hot.
 Several women meet soldiers in a parade on their return home and kiss them briefly (a few of the women wear scoop-necked dresses that show a bit of cleavage and other women wear extremely short shorts).
 A young man is shown in his underwear and boots (bare chest, back and legs are visible) in a couple of scenes.


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VIOLENCE AND GORE 8 - Several soldiers drive Hummers into an alley in Iraq during a search, they get out and carry their rifles at the ready, they enter an apartment where they find Arab men with rifles and grenades, a grenade explodes in a bedroom off-screen and we see smoke and hear the noise (we see a body leaning against a corner on the floor, covered in blood, and then two women and two children dead on a couch, their faces covered in blood).
 Soldiers are attacked from rooftops by snipers, two mortars blow up a Hummer and a car, and there's a large explosion with flames and smoke; three soldiers are killed and we see a lot of blood, including blood splattering on a wall from a man's head and one victim is shown with a badly burned face and his right knee is torn open (a lot of blood pours out of the wound).
 A flashback scene shows a fallen man in an apartment entrance, his dead body covered in blood, another man comes out of a bedroom and uses a child as a human shield while he attempts to remove a pin from a grenade, and a soldier fires his rifle and kills both the man and the child and several small splatters of blood are shown on the shirts of both.
 We hear an intercom transmission that "two men are shot up, we need help!" and a car advances on a roadblock, a man from a back window fires an automatic rifle as the car speeds around a corner, much yelling follows and soldiers drive after the car in Hummers.
 At a road block in an Iraqi city soldiers stop each car, searching the vehicles and the passengers and one soldier says, "We're waiting to get blown up," and when one car does not stop quickly enough a soldier fires warning shots in the air.
 A young man is sent to the stockade after complaining about receiving orders to return to Iraq even though his contract has expired, and the young man beats up his two army escorts, steals a jeep, and goes AWOL.
 A young man attacks three men who have broken into his car, one of them strikes him in the head (we see a gash and blood spurts), he beats all three of them, takes a gun away from one, and fires it beside the ear of one of them, and the three robbers lie on the ground; he kicks one, and he threatens to kill them all, retrieves the stolen items and leaves.
 A man attacks a stranger who asks his wife to dance, and a short fight ensues, which is broken up.
 Several scenes from home movies of soldiers at a base camp show them participating in self-defense training, arming themselves, loading weapons, driving Hummers and tanks and shooting automatic rifles while the background music contains lyrics describing losing an eye in battle. Home movies portray a memorial for several men killed in a sniper attack; some scenes show their rifles standing up in their empty boots in memory, with their helmets on the tops of the rifles and one scene shows a soldier crouching beside a pool of blood after a battle.
 Two young men fight at a graveside: they punch each other and grapple until the two are too tired to fight any longer, they fall to the ground, get up, argue briefly about the importance of the war in Iraq and walk away in opposite directions.
 A drunken young man drives a car slowly into a light pole on a deserted street doing little damage (the front bumper is slightly bent) and he hands a friend standing on the sidewalk a beer from the front seat. A drunken young man digs a trench in his front yard and sleeps in it with a handgun in his hand. Several young men have target-shooting practice at a park, using one man's wedding presents as targets (including glassware and small appliances), because his wife kicked him out for drinking too much.
 In a park scene, three young men are using a cabin for a cookout, two of them skin a large snake (we see raw meat and the skin being ripped from it) and one man chases another with the snake head in jest.
 At a motel, a young man hallucinates that another young man is drowned in a swimming pool and is face down in the water; he jumps in the pool and finds only a floating towel
 Several young men walk across a street at night, two of them look in the window of a jewelry store, one throws a beer bottle though the window and sets off the alarm, and sits down on the curb to wait for the police.
 A young man visits a VA hospital and sees a platoon friend who was wounded in Iraq: the friend has a burned face and burned eyes (he's blind), and is missing his right arm and right leg at the knee (we see black stitches on his upper arm and thigh stumps); we also see a triple amputee playing pool with a young woman he wears two artificial legs and one artificial arm with a double hook pincher.
 At a parade, a U.S. soldier speaks into a microphone, saying, "We kill 'em in Iraq so we ain't got to kill 'em in Texas." A young man and a young woman argue about his re-enlisting and she tells him that she cannot wait for him to come back home. A young man pleads with his commanding officer to let him re-enlist and return to Iraq. A young man receives a call that another young man has committed suicide by shooting himself in the head; he grimaces and hangs up.
 We see the funeral of a man who committed suicide, his widow cries, and other mourners look sad. An AWOL soldier asks for help to get his sick young son to a hospital (we see the boy in bed with a sick look on his face). A busload of soldiers departs for Iraq and some women seeing them off cry.


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LANGUAGE 10 - 71 F-words, 1 obscene hand gesture, 25 scatological references, 8 anatomical references, 7 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory remark about Mexicans and 5 about Arabs, name-calling (stupid, dumb, Hajji).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man falls down twice from drinking too much, a young woman orders several shots of Tequila at a bar and a friend joins her and they drink several shots, in a bar scene all of the tables are loaded with bottles and glasses of beer and several men and women drink, while on a sidewalk two men drink from cans of beer, some men and women dance together with bottles of beer in their hands, in an afternoon park scene several young men drink from open bottles and cans of beer and several young men walk out of a bar at night and one drinks from an open beer bottle. One man smokes a cigarette.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - War, the Iraq War, forced military re-enlistment, death, remorse, guilt, obligation, family, alcohol abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, children used as human shields, multiple amputees, prostheses, burn injuries, tattoos, personal decisions.

MESSAGE - War requires hard decisions. War traumatizes everybody involved in different ways.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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