Stop-Loss, the eagerly anticipated anti-Iraq war movie by writer-director Kimberly Pierce, opened today to generally positive reviews around the country, but a lukewarm reception in The Bulletin's "GO" magazine.
"Despite the sincerity of its aspirations, Stop Loss is hampered by awkward construction, its characters' inarticulate attempts to describe and discuss what is going on, and the handsome Hollywood gloss that cannot come close to the real-life soldiers telling their own stories," wrote reviewer Nell Minow, who gave the movie about a young soldier who resists being sent back to Iraq a B-minus grade.
Reviews in major papers were considerably kinder. A.O. Scott of the New York Times described Stop-Loss as "not only an earnest, issue-driven narrative, but also a feverish entertainment, a passionate, at times overwrought melodrama gaudy with violent actions and emotions."
John Anderson of the Washington Post wrote that lead actor Ryan Phillippe "does a fine job translating the unspeakable anger of a soldier into action ... [lead actress Annie] Cornish delivers an intriguing performance ... a remarkably entertaining movie."
And Kenneth Turan, writing in the Los Angeles Times, was practically glowing:
"Four thousand Americans and counting have died in Iraq, and the litany of unsuccessful films about that part of the world ... is growing as well. Do not add Stop-Loss to that list. Stop-Loss is a film that does it right. ... Stop-Loss covers some of the same territory as those other features. The difference here is a quality of propulsive emotional intensity that pushes us over rough spots as it drives us insistently forward."
A few minutes' research revealed that The Bulletin's review was a copy-and-paste job from the Christian website Beliefnet, where Nell Minow writes a column called "Movie Mom: A parent's eye on media, culture and values."
Why did The Bulletin - which subscribes to both the New York Times and the Washington Post - LA Times news services - choose to go with a review from Beliefnet? The EYE must confess we haven't a clue.