16 May 2008

STOP-LOSS

Guns scare the shit out of me. I've never shot one or even touched one (had the opportunity to in Alabama one summer with friends, but declined (I think they thought I was being ideological)). If it was my decision to make, I would destroy all guns. Invariably when I leave movies like "Stop-Loss," I will make this comment to friends: That movie was lame, but the way they portray the danger of guns is amazing. Blood Diamond comes to mind. In keeping with earlier posts, I missed this film in theaters, so I watched a pretty terrible bootleg copy online, at like three in the morning. "Stop-Loss" is basically a melodrama, so formulaic that you can predict each new scene down to the smallest of details, but there are several scenes where guns play a central role, and they all freaked me out.

Go here and click on the fifth video. It's the one with a dude with a buzz cut and no shirt holding a big rifle. It's intense, even at this resolution.

I found the ending of the film kind of frustrating.

Spoiler alert.


I guess I think it sucks that he just goes back to the army. I think it's realistic, and it doesn't necessarily cheapen the earlier drama. But it still kind of sucks. To me it presents a quite nihilistic view of human nature. Ryan Phillippe's character, Sgt. King, goes back to Iraq because he realizes he can't start his life over. He's obviously not against war as a concept, his flight is motivated by self-preservation, and the feeling that he's being treated unfairly. He goes back because he would rather risk his life than try to live it without his family, his hometown, and his country. I sympathize with the decision (who knows what I would do in his situation), but can't help thinking that the film-maker, Kimberly Pierce presents a depressing view of people (articulate, eh?).

Though I didn't care for the narrative of the film, I found the cinematography good and thought the acting was compelling (I don't really know anything about acting, but still). But it is most successful in it's unbiased use of an incredibly contentious political topic to produce a thought provoking narrative experience. The viewer is forced to wonder what they would do in Sgt. King's situation, a degree of empathy not often required by film.

I could also talk a lot about the representation of masculinity in this film, but I think I'll save it. I still need to download "Redacted" and "In the Valley of Elah."

1 comment:

James C said...

You were being ideological. Those gremlins would have had their way with you had I not shot them up.