Jungle
Thank You For Your Service

Thank You For Your Service

Movie
Director(s): 
Genre: 
In Theatres: 
Oct 27, 2017
Grade:
C+
Running Time: 
108 minutes

It’s not surprising that American Sniper writer Jason Hall would make his directorial debut with a biographical war drama about soldiers returning home and trying to adjust to civilian life. It’s what he knows best. Thank You For Your Service is a war film minus the war. It addresses largely ignored topic of the support we provide our veterans after they return home from war. Despite the importance of the subject matter and the strength of the performances, the film’s story doesn’t quite have the necessary impact.

 

Adam Schumann (Miles Teller), Tausolo Aieti (Beulah Koale), and Will Waller (Joe Cole) all return to their small hometown after finishing up their latest tour of duty in Iraq. This tour was particularly hard as one incident left one of their fellow soldiers severely injured after being shot in the head by a sniper, and another incident killed their Sergeant. While they come home to a heroes welcome, there service is quickly forgotten as they attempt to readjust to a normal life. Will arrives to an empty apartment, learning that his girlfriend has left him, meanwhile Tausolo finds out that his mind has taken a beating over the years and he won’t be able to reenlist for another tour. Adam appears to be taking things the best, but underneath his hardened exterior he’s struggling just like all the other soldiers who have returned from war. To make matters worse, it’s near impossible to get any kind of assistance from the government to deal with the PTSD they’re suffering from.

 

Thank You For Your Service highlights the difficulties veterans are going through in order to get the help they need. They say that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day so this isn’t some kind of small problem. All three actors, Teller, Koale, and Cole, do a fantastic job at conveying them emotion and pain that veterans are going though. From the outside they look like hardened soldiers, but on the inside they’re still fighting a much bigger war over their own bodies. Sure, some soldiers lose limbs and have physical scars, but it’s the mental wounds that cut the deepest.

 

Despite the performances and overall message of the film, Thank You For Your Service doesn’t have quite the emotional impact I would have expected from a film like this. We don’t know much about the incident involving the death of their Sergeant until the very end of the film so it’s difficult to connect with what these guys are going through, especially Tausolo who seems to be most haunted by what happened. It would have been far more meaningful if audiences could have been informed more towards the beginning.

 

Thank You For Your Service is one of those films that I recommend seeing just because of its message about veterans. It’s far from the best war drama film and could have greatly benefited from a tighter script, but there are some great moments to be found.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook