Thank You for Your Service: Film Review

Most Hollywood war movies that have been released this decade haven’t been too impressive. Aside from Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge, not a lot of them have peaked my interest to the reason that it probably won’t be compelling. A major respect to actual soldiers to be said, and Thank You for Your Service might not be the best movie to come from American Sniper writer Jason Hall makes his directorial debut on David Finkel’s 2013 book, but it probably won’t be remembered for too long.

What’s the Story?: Taken place in 2007, U.S. soldiers Adam Schumann (Miles Teller), Tausolo “Solo” Aieti (Beulah Koale), and Billy Waller (Joe Cole) return home from servicing their duties in Iraq and are adjusting to a civilized life after their time fighting the war when battling with the struggles of PTSD that overcomes them.

Miles Teller and Beulah Koale in Thank You for Your Service (2017)
Hall paints a portrait of how soldiers are having a difficult time leading a personal life after the war and looking for other work in the future. Personally, I don’t know anybody who has served in the military, but it’s a thought I assume with struggling veterans with PTSD. There was an incident that causes these men to have problems with their minds. Sadly, Thank You for Your Service’s execution didn’t reach its level on importance. At least this was actually respectful rather than our idiotic president’s treatment of a widow.

The performances are the film’s backbone from being a complete misfire. Teller just gave a one of his best performance in Only the Brave recently, and he still gives a committed role as Adam. For someone coming home to find a job to support his wife Saskia (an excellent Haley Bennett) and their young children. Koale came off as the film’s standout as Solo since his character is having trouble with remembering anything and about to be a father with his wife (Keisha Castle-Hughes). Cole doesn’t have a lot of screen presence, but he makes the most of it.

Nothing made me emotional as sometimes, it was trying too hard to be tear-jerking and it doesn’t work. Individually, the character’s arcs weren’t that investing for what follows their time fighting overseas. Luckily, this doesn’t go over to the propaganda side like American Sniper, but it focused on the soldiers and what they’ve gone through. There’s a subplot with Solo’s drug problem that could’ve been written better or not involved at all. Nothing was effective in the way that needed to be. If it’s trying to be a good service film to be noticed at the end of the year, it won’t happen.

Oddly enough, Amy Schumer appears in this in a few scenes as a grieving widower of a fallen soldier, and this is not because I don’t like her, but she was completely miscast and doesn’t fit in the movie at all. Honestly, when I first heard about this movie and she was cast in it, I was thinking it was a mistake at first.

The trailer didn’t look interesting whenever it’s played before a movie, and I did want to like it. For a first time director, Hall makes for a confident director in the near future. Hoping it was going to be the next Born on the Fourth of July, but it doesn’t match. Although is has solid performances from Teller and the rest with Hall’s duties as a director and working on the script, it’s pretty much what I expected. It’s just that Thank You for Your Service probably won’t be remembered in the next month.

Thank You for Your Service, while didn’t get to that emotional level, still is a fine drama depicting the struggles of soldiers to serve a purpose. Grade: C+

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