Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 142


Audience Score

User Ratings: 748,288
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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, Rovi

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Ryan Phillippe
as Brandon King
Abbie Cornish
as Michelle
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
as Tommy Burgess
Rob Brown (VI)
as Isaac "Eyeball" Butler
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 Worrell
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 MacDonald
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News & Interviews for Stop-Loss

Critic Reviews for Stop-Loss

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (39)

  • Stop Loss takes some time out from the argument over the validity of the war to ask a question closer to home - whether the emotional battlefield America subjects its young soldiers to is actually worth it.

    Apr 25, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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

    Apr 25, 2008 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…
  • Stop-Loss misses emotional beats and hammers home its frustration; yet in a week where we've lost our 4,000th soldier, its impatience is a virtue.

    Mar 31, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Stop-Loss is not a great movie, but it's forceful, effective, and alive, with the raw, mixed-up emotions produced by an endless war -- a time when the patriotism of military families is in danger of being exploited beyond endurance.

    Mar 31, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • The power of Stop-Loss -- and this is no dumb joke -- is that it shows its hero between Iraq and a hard place.

    Mar 31, 2008
  • [A] very worthy film.

    Mar 31, 2008

Audience Reviews for Stop-Loss

  • Jul 13, 2012
    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 <i>The Real World</i>, 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 H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2011
    This film took me by surprise. After watching the trailer, I wasn't expecting much from the film. However, after watching the film, I was pleasantly surprised. It is really good. The film should have gotten more exposure. I loved the style of this film. Kimberly Pierce does a really great directing job. The film kind of reminded me of films like Born on the Fourth of July, 1969, We Were Soldiers, Jarheads, and In the Valley of Elah. The film is well casted. Everyone delivers. Ryan Phillippe does a great job as the lead. Abbie Cornish was good too. She kind of reminds me of Charlize Theron. Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon Levitt provide solid supporting work here. I definitely recommend this film.
    Sol C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2011
    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 r Super Reviewer
  • May 01, 2011
    It's been a long time since I've seen an MTV Film, and this one was better than most that I remember. It was a little too glossy and angsty to take seriously in some places, but overall I thought it was a sensitive and gripping story about friendship and trauma. In a way it writes itself into a corner: neither potential ending would be completely satisfying. Unfortunately, that's the reality of stop-loss: the stats at the end of the film show that 15% of troops (through the end of its production) were forced back to the front. This is a sad and important story, regardless of whether it's a great film or not, and if you don't want to watch this movie, fair enough, but promise you'll read a book about this policy, ok?
    Daniel P Super Reviewer

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