Thank You For Your Service
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Jason Hall
Writers: Jason Hall, David Finkel (based on the book by)
Starring: Haley Bennett, Miles Teller, Keisha Castle-HughesGenre: Biography, Drama, War
Rated: R for strong violent content, language throughout, some sexuality, drug material and brief nudity
Synopsis: A group of soldiers return from serving in Iraq haunted by their experiences.
Review: “Thank You for Your Service” is based on true stories that were gathered by David Finkel for his non-fiction book of the same name. This cinematic adaptation is a meat and potatoes film, a weighty work of gathered facts that paints a fairly dire situation. There’s not a lot of style or flourish, but the barebones approach works just enough for the film’s powerful message to come across. Also, unlike “An American Sniper,” director/writer Jason Hall’s previous script, “Thank You for Your Service” is not a celebration of the military as much as it is a condemnation of the current system that fails to address the psychological damage that exists long after the soldier’s tour of duty ends.
We are shown the crowded waiting rooms, the endless chairs filled by hunched over individuals looking for an offer of kindness or a sense of purpose. It’s dire and there is no way to get around that. We are also shown the solider as they do their best to back into the lives and relationships that were left behind. Again, it is a fairly dire situation as the reach of battle stretches out to wives, husbands, parents, children and friends.
The cast is strong, with Miles Teller, Beulah Koale and Haley Bennett carrying the bulk of the narrative. There is a particular famous face that pops up in the film. I personally found her presence to be a little jarring and a distraction, but that might change with subsequent viewings.
“Thank You for Your Service” is an incredibly important film that really needs to be seen by anyone and everyone. Hall will undoubtedly improve as a director if he is given the chance to continue working in that area.