FILM REVIEW
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
Rated R
108 Minutes
Released October 27th

Thank You for Your Service is the directorial debut of Jason Hall. Hall is an actor/writer who with Chris Kyle, penned the book on which American Sniper was based.

Hall also created the screenplay for Thank You for Your Service from a book based on a true story of a battalion of soldiers returning to civilian life after enduring extreme stress and danger during their tours in Iraq.

That book, by David Finkel, was published in 2013 and was a finalist for the National Book Circle Award.

For me, this movie did exactly what it was supposed to do.

I felt extremely disturbed throughout the film, until the end, as if I were suffering from PTSD along with the soldiers depicted.

The film made me realize how much more we need to do for our vets.

Someone close to me had served in Iraq in the mid 2000’s and had very similar stories to the soldiers in this story.

His outlook changed drastically after a few months of his first tour, as he could now see the horrors and pain that are the inhuman reality of war.

After he returned home, it took him a long time to adjust – he will probably always be adjusting.

The soldiers in Thank You for Your Service must rejoin the society they left behind.

They have all returned with radically different personas from those of the boys they were when they left home.

It is possible to carry the pain and memories of war forward and establish a new life – however, as this film shows, it is a completely new life that must be built on top of feelings of loss, complete separation from known environment and friends, a disruption of routine and a feeling of uselessness.

The building blocks can only be constructed with help from every one of us.

Miles Teller as “Adam Schumann” gives a genuine, subtle and realistic performance.

New Zealand actor Beulah Koale, as one of Schumann’s fellow returnees, is outstanding in a very complex role.

His character “Solo” is fighting the effects of a head injury and he feels a return to normalcy is possible only if he returns to the battlefield.

Joe Cole and Scott Hayes, who have very little screen time, convey the deep pain is often masked with an ebullient nature. Amy Schumer has an important cameo role and proves that she is just as strong a dramatic actress as she is a comedian.
Scenes in the VA where the desperate, depressed and sometimes suicidal returning vets are told that they will have to wait months and possibly travel to another state to get desperately needed help, bring home the reality that we need to step up care for our veterans in this country.

Hall’s skill as a director has room to grow. For the first hour, I was thinking that the film should have been a TV movie, and the placement of the flashbacks of war scenes is a bit jarring. However, the skill of the actors is such that you identify with them and feel their pain.

Through that process you will get the message loud and clear.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.

She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com

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