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Screen Scene: 'Service' digs into post-traumatic stress

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - 11/2/2017

Nov. 02--"Thank You for Your Service" is based on the lives of real people who fought for their country in the Middle East and returned to the U.S. unable to adapt to regular life.

Miles Teller plays Adam Schumann. He has a sixth sense about where roadside bombs are hiding. It works most of the time, but not all the time. When trouble hits after one of his judgment calls, it starts a cascading tragedy that rolls over soldiers and family members.

After Adam comes home, his wife, Saskia (Haley Bennett), is understanding and realizes he needs to spend time with his Army buddies, Billy (Joe Cole) and Solo (Beulah Koale).

But all three men have trouble adjusting. Billy's going through financial troubles, and his fiancé isn't returning his calls.

Solo's wife (Keisha Castle-Hughes) wants to have kids, but he doesn't feel ready for the responsibility.

Adam's trying to look after his friends, while also avoiding the widow (Amy Schumer) of a fallen comrade.

Teller does fine work as a guy who's trying to protect others while his own life is spiraling out of control. I'd imagine it's far easier to act like you're losing control than it is to pretend to be just fine while still letting the audience see the cracks.

"Thank You for Your Service" is a dramatization of post-traumatic stress disorder and how it impacts these three men and the people around them. The characters keep putting themselves in situations with the potential to go horribly wrong.

I'm concerned about telling much more about the plot, because the story sustains itself with the questions it creates in the viewer's mind.

Will these guys reach out to get help?

Will the bureaucracy prove insurmountable?

How much patience will the women in their lives have?

Director Jason Hall adapted the screenplay from the book by David Finkel. He does a good job of showing the audience part of the story while holding other details in reserve.

He also builds an inescapable sense of foreboding that feels oppressive after a while. I can understand a filmmaker wanting to put viewers in the soldiers' shoes, but I would've appreciated a few more light moments to break up the gloom along the way.

I give "Thank You for Your Service" a B.

It's showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday on Wizard 106.7 between 4:30 and 5 p.m.


(c)2017 the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.)

Visit the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.) at www.djournal.com

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