Stop-Loss (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Stop-Loss (2008)



Critic Consensus: Stop-Loss is sincere and complex, and features strong performances, even if it tries to cover too much ground.

Movie Info

After serving his tour of duty in Iraq, a young American soldier who is ordered to return to the front lines as part of the military's controversial stop-loss policy opts instead to go AWOL in a thought-provoking military drama directed by Kimberly Peirce. Sgt. Brandon King (Ryan Philippe) is a decorated Iraq War veteran who once served his country with pride. After his tour of duty comes to an end, King returns to his Texas hometown and attempts to pick up where he once left off with a little help from his family, as well as long-time best friend and war buddy Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum). But just as Brandon, Steve, and the rest of their war buddies begin to settle back into civilian life, Uncle Sam comes calling on them once again. Suddenly ordered back into active duty, the disillusioned war veteran begins to question not just his ties to family and his longtime friendships, but his capacity for love and his sense of honor as well. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: R (for graphic violence and pervasive language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 8, 2008
Box Office: $10.8M
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


Ryan Phillippe
as Brandon King
Abbie Cornish
as Michelle
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
as Tommy Burgess
Rob Brown (VI)
as Isaac "Eyeball" Butl...
Channing Tatum
as Steve Shriver
Victor Rasuk
as Rico Rodriguez
Terry Quay
as Al "Preacher" Colson
Timothy Olyphant
as Lt. Col. Boot Miller
Josef Sommer
as Senator Orton Worrel...
Linda Emond
as Ida King
Ciarán Hinds
as Roy King
Alex Frost
as Shorty
Chandra Washington
as Mrs. Butler
Cora Cardona
as Theresa Rodriguez
Isreal Saldivar
as Augustin Rodriguez
Cory Hart
as Cowboy
Richard Dillard
as Sheriff Boudreaux
James Dever
as Captain Dever
Laurie Metcalf
as Mrs. Colson
Steven Strait
as Michael Colson
Robert Farrior
as Captain Greg MacDona...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Stop-Loss

Critic Reviews for Stop-Loss

All Critics (140) | Top Critics (39)

It's the film equivalent of a weary shrug - capturing the national mood at a moment when we'd all prefer some mood enhancers.

Full Review… | April 25, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Mature, violent war drama tackles heavy issues.

Full Review… | December 17, 2010
Common Sense Media

Feverish yet bizarrely apolitical, the movie tries to have it both ways and fumbles its outraged and reconciliatory impulses equally

Full Review… | August 27, 2009

Peirce's sincerity and smarts cannot quite defuse the overall didactic nature of the piece.

Full Review… | March 29, 2009

Following the harrowing and superbly made opening sequences of hand to hand combat in Iraq, we can feel the frustrations and the anger through the film, and we sympathise. But the film has a confused message ...

Full Review… | August 4, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Stop-Loss is a tough film to watch and one that raises issues of concern that travel far beyond the war-torn regions. But whether its message is accurately targeted is for the viewer to decide

Full Review… | August 4, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Stop-Loss

A solider, whose tour of duty in Iraq is over, is victim to a government policy that denies him his release.
The central dramatic conflict about whether this solider should return to Iraq is a compelling and complex issue, and director Kimberly Pierce treats it with the gravity it deserves, presenting sides that would appeal to most left-leaning peacenics and most veterans of the war. I also think the PTSD was presented well with King being functional most of the time until situations bring back the worst of his time there.
However, Channing Tatum is awful, clearly trying too hard to be a "serious dramatic actor." The film also diverts from the principle conflict, as King visits the family of a dead solider and another soldier in the hospital; it seems like these scenes relate more to Pierce's politically motivated desire to capture all sides of the conflict rather than tell the story. Finally, the beginning of the film is structured like a bad episode of The Real World, as though Pierce realized she was working for MTV and needed to buoy her Gen X kudos.
Overall, this is a good, important story even if the filmmaking isn't all it can be.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Stop Loss is one incredible drama film. With an incredible cast at hand, director Kimberly Peirce tells the story of an Iraq war veteran which because of the Stop Loss policy of the U.S Military, is forced to stay in the military against his will. Stop Loss is a brilliant film that exposes the ludicrous Stop Loss policy. Starring Ryan Phillipe, in what I consider the best performance of his career, Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a great performance as well. Stop Loss is a well paced drama film with an important story. Of all the films that Ryan Phillippe has done, none has come close to Stop Loss. This is a powerful film that is superbly well done. Kimberly Peirce follows up her debut feature film, Boys Don't Cry with this intense war drama. The film at times struggles with its material, but it gets the point across and the film, I think is significant as a picture that embodies the nature of service men everywhere. Watching this film, you realize what these men go through and what they sacrifice in the process and it makes you appreciate what they do that much more. If you enjoy a good drama/war film, then Stop Loss is the film for you. Stop Loss manages to be a terrific, emotional journey for one soldier who is conflicted with doing the right thing. A phenomenal, and different war film. I think Stop Loss delivers a refreshing dramatic experience while using the Iraq War as backdrop for its story. A very underrated film, and one that shouldn't be missed.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


I hope that there's more to "Stop Loss" than what's depicted in this movie. It's disturbing that one is left helpless and with no option when On returning home after serving for about 5 years in Iraq, the protagonist doesn't intend to go back. He's taken aback when he's told that, being stop-lossed, he'll have to leave for Iraq again soon. He's offered no other favorable option. He's not willing to accept this, and goes AWOL to make efforts to get out of this situation.

A person volunteers to serve for his nation, does his duty for several years loyally and returns. What's wrong if he doesn't wish to go back? How fair is it to make one so helpless? I hope that the "stop loss" provides reasonable options, and doesn't just enforce anyone who's unwilling to go.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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