Stop-Loss (Pierce, 2008)

The opening twenty minutes of Kimberly Pierce’s Stop-Loss brilliantly deconstruct traditional combat film aesthetics through a harrowing juxtaposition of dynamic video-diary footage and stark, meticulously staged battle scenes framed by an unsettling and shifting Iraq War hell. Unfortunately, the resulting narrative and return stateside (which overtly addresses both personal and national tragedies) fades away from this fascinating conflict between ideology and technological representation, instead choosing to wallow in all the cliches it has just challenged.