Film Review – Thank Your For Your Service (2017)

Title – Thank You for Your Service (2017)

Director – Jason Hall (feature debut)

Cast – Miles Teller, Beulah Koale, Joe Cole, Scott Haze, Haley Bennett, Amy Schumer, Keisha Castle-Hughes

Plot – Follows the lives of three American soldiers who return from their tour of the Middle East changed men, each struggling to adapt to their everyday lives away from the battle zone.  

“I need you to talk to me”

Review by Eddie on 26/11/2019

Bypassing the battlefield almost entirely, Thank You For Your Service is a different type of war movie that focuses on the fight back on home soil and internally rather than the bullet strewn one that takes place in the combat zone.

Based on a collection of real soldiers stories and their battles to find themselves and their purpose once they left the wind swept and dust filled surrounds of their service in the Middle East and returned home, Service is heavy going with not much light on offer throughout but in taking an approach that feels real and lived in, Jason Hall’s film delivers and important message and offers a different take to the usual gung-ho and macho driven American war films that we are used to.

Following three young men back to their home town, Miles Teller’s stoic Adam Schumann, Beulah Koale’s shaken Tausolo Aieti and Joe Cole’s Billy Waller, Service is in many ways a quiet film that focuses heavily on subtle character beats and interactions with actions often being louder than words but it’s exactly the way in which these men feel as though they need to deal with their problems, inwardly and without fuss and its where Service finds its power.

It feels as though Hall and his team didn’t mine all the dramatic gold from Service that could’ve been available to them, Teller feels a league above his other co-stars who all get short straws with screen time and with their delivery and the film at times gets stuck in a rather repetitive rut, but when Service packs a punch it’s often a strong one and come the films moving final stretch you begin to appreciate the films approach to telling a story that should feel far more familiar than it does.

In a landscape full of war films of all shapes and sizes, it’s refreshing to sit back and contemplate what life after war really looks like. We’ve seen plenty of examinations of PTSD and the sad way war sticks to those that experience it first-hand but Service brings it back to an everyday level where not all is apparent straight away to us as viewers and we begin to discover and unlock the scars of the battle these man fought, powerfully played out in a restrained manner by Hall who waits until the endgame to showcase the exact moment that changed these men’s lives forever.

Final Say –

This is not a war film for those seeking Hollywood stylized battles and programming as Thank You For Your Service takes a more character driven and restrained approach to showcasing the aftermath of bullets and destruction. Not ground-breaking by any means, but powerful enough to seek out for those willing to explore the darkness of War that rages in the mind.

3 ½ bowling alley jukeboxes out of 5   

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