Release Date: October 27, 2017
Director: Jason Hall
Writer: Jason Hall, David Finkel
Cast: Haley Bennett, Miles Teller, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Amy Schumer, Joe Cole, Kate Lyn Sheil, Beulah Koale, Erin Darke, Kerry Cahill, Cecil M. Henry, Scott Haze, Omar J. Dorsey, Brad Beyer, Allison King, Jayson Warner Smith, Michael Love Toliver, Donna Duplantier, Peter O’Meara, Hunter Burke, Randall Taylor, Deneen Tyler, Sasha Morfaw, John Archer Lundgren, Dennis L.A. White, Han Soto, Alex Coker, Phil Armijo, Jeremy Sykes, Valerie Lynn Brett, Jaxon Rose Moore, Jesse Malinowski, Tyler J. Shaw, Stella Pileggi, Patrick Brown, Perry Ball, Blake Sewell
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes
Production Company: DreamWorks, Reliance Entertainment, Dune Films, Dune Films (Production Services), Universal Pictures
Genre: Biography, Drama, War
Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)
If you look at the marketing material, this may have come across as a war driven film between the lives of three friends. While that aspect Is present in the film, Thank You For Your Service deals with the aftermath, and the PTSD that comes along with it. I can imagine this would be a hard film to watch for those men and women that have fought for their country, but for those that may not be up to date on those issues, this would be a great introduction to learn more about this tragedy. Directed by first time filmmaker Jason Hall, who is known as an actor, takes this true story, and puts it in a perspective that many would likely appreciate.
The structure of the film is lacking at times, not providing a clear indication on where the film is going at some points. Though, the film fails during those moments, the acting from the cast makes up double time for those missed opportunities. Miles Teller (War Dogs, Whiplash) is back playing the role of Adam Schumann, a family man who just wants to serve. Another key role goes to Beulah Koale (The Last Saint) who takes on the life of Solo who’s soon to be a father, wanting to be the best he can be. Most movie goers know that Teller can act who in the past has received countless rewards, but here, Koale takes the cake with his breathtaking performance. One scene in particular stole the show as he slowly tries to integrate back into society after coming home from fighting in Iraq. If you weren’t already aware, and no disrespect to all Veterans, but when they’re dealing with PTSD, the smallest trigger of randomness could set them off into panic. Someone taping a pen on a table unconsciously could snap them into thinking there are gunshots flying which could lead to a hyper active episode of fear. During this time in the film, Koale was on the brink of lashing out, and his acting without a single word of dialogue was simply captivating. The look he had, with his facial muscles twitching, and eyes battling rapidly were a jaw dropping experience to see. You could do nothing but feel sorry for the man, wanting to give him all you have, and this scene alone deserves award recognition.
Another element in the film is the assistance that’s requested from the soldiers when they seek help after returning home. Without holding anything back, it’s beyond disgusting how Veterans are treated after their contribution, and the film made sure you know the struggle they go through. The film made it seem that individuals in power simply don’t care, and from my own personal experience of speaking with vets in real life, I can say the illustration on screen seemed accurate. The film isn’t a desperate cry for help, and is only trying to provide you a story from a walk of life you may not be familiar with, and does an excellent job at doing so. And after you leave the theater, if you have a soul, you won’t be able to think about much else than trying to figure out a way to help.
For this being Jason Hall’s directorial debut, I’d say he did a competent job. He was able to capture what really goes on in the mind of men and women that fight for their country in a way that hasn’t been seen before. I give more credit to the story itself, and the actors involved for putting together a film that needed to be told. The reason why the dedication sequence towards the end of the real men that fought is rushed through and doesn’t hit home as hard as I thought it should’ve. I wonder if soldiers can sit through these types of films without it being too painful. If you’re curious to what takes place, I highly recommend as it did a decent enough job at making its point of what these men and women have to live with after their respected contribution towards the land they love.