14FEATURES

The Gulf Today - Business - - FEATURES -

hank You For Your Ser­vice” may be an Iraq war ilm. But Its most Har­row­ing SCENE takes PLACE FAR From THE Bat­tleield: In THE ster­ile, DINGY WAIT­ING room of THE Depart­ment of Veter­ans AF­FAIRS.

THERE, As Count­less veter­ans, many of them wounded, sit For Hours WAIT­ING to talk to some­one, ADAM Schu­mann (MILES Teller) tries to AR­RANGE treat­ment For HIM­SELF AND HIS BUDDY, Both SUF­FER­ING From PTSD. WHEN Schu­mann in­ally Gets to THE win­dow, HE’S told He’ll GET to SEE A Doc­tor - In six to nine months.

You CAN HEAR THE AU­DI­ENCE Gasp HERE - more than they Gasp Dur­ing An EAR­LIER Bat­tle SCENE, with All Its Blood. In A quiet way, this Is more DEV­AS­TAT­ING. WE know that NEI­THER ADAM nor HIS BUDDY, Solo (BEU­LAH KOALE), HAS that kind of time to play with.

THE key strength of “THANK You For Your SER­VICE ,” An Earnest AND poignant But Also oc­ca­sion­ally IN­COM­PLETE-FEEL­ING Ef­fort By Di­rec­tor-writer Ja­son Hall (who wrote “AMER­I­CAN Sniper”), Is In THESE scenes of A wholly INEFICIENT veter­ans’ BU­REAU­CRACY, AND THE Justi­iable shock on THE part of re­turn­ing sol­diers that there’s so lit­tle Help AWAIT­ING them AF­TER they’ve re­peat­edly risked THEIR lives. WE may HAVE HEARD this story BE­FORE, But Frankly, It’s Im­por­tant to HEAR It AGAIN.

“THANK You For Your SER­VICE” Is BASED partly on THE Book By Jour­nal­ist DAVID Finkel, who TRACKED A Group of sol­diers re­turn­ing Home to Topeka, Kansas, From Iraq. AND It’s In Iraq that we BE­GIN, Briely. “I was A Good soldier,” ADAM says In voiceover. “I HAD pur­pose AND I loved It.”

In FACT, HE’S on HIS THIRD tour of Duty. In A quick Bat­tle SCENE on A rooftop, A Fel­low soldier Gets shot In THE HEAD By A sniper. ADAM CAR­RIES HIM on HIS shoul­ders Down A LIGHT of stairs, HIS Com­rade’s Blood spurt­ing Down ADAM’S FACE AND CHOK­ING HIM.

Soon THE men ARE ly­ing Home, to lives In var­i­ous stages of Dis­ar­ray. On THE plane, they’re Dis­cussing A BACH­E­LOR party For Will (JOE Cole), But HE Ar­rives Home to ind, trag­i­cally, that HIS IANCEE HAD other IDEAS. Solo, MEAN­WHILE, HAS A trau­matic BRAIN In­jury From An Ex­plo­sion AND Can’t Even re­tain what DAY It Is.

ADAM Is os­ten­si­bly In THE Best SHAPE; HE HAS A lov­ing WIFE AND two sweet kids. But what will HE Do now? HE HAS no JOB, no sense of pur­pose like HE HAD on THE Bat­tleield. THE Fam­ily HAS Also lost Its For­mer Home, DUE to inan­cial Is­sues.

Even worse, ADAM Is HAUNTED AND GUILTRIDDEN By A mis­take HE MADE In Com­bat. AND Both HE AND Solo ARE WRACKED with re­morse over THE DEATH of A soldier In THEIR unit whose WIFE - In An un­ex­pected DRA­MATIC CAMEO By Amy SCHUMER, In A Dark WIG - Is DES­PER­ATE For An­swers.

ADAM’S MAR­RIAGE Is Also Hurt­ing un­der THE WEIGHT of HIS silent SUF­FER­ING. HIS WIFE (HA­LEY Ben­nett) Goes with HIM to seek A spot In A THER­A­PEU­TIC pro­gram, AND THE Cou­ple ARE told there’s A wait­list of Hun­dreds of thou­sands. “But HE’S A vet­eran,” SHE says. “THAT’S what I mean,” Comes THE re­ply. “Hun­dreds of thou­sands of veter­ans.”

EF­FEC­TIVE mo­ments like that, though, Al­ter­nate with oc­ca­sional re­turn­ing-vet CLICHES, like when Solo HAS A LASHBACK AND punches A Hole In THE wall. AND we Don’t SEE nearly Enough of what ADAM Is EX­PE­RI­ENC­ING to un­der­stand why Both HE AND HIS WIFE FEAR HE may take HIS own LIFE.

Teller, Al­ways so WATCH­ABLE, GIVES A thought­ful, solid per­for­mance As ADAM (THE real ADAM, By THE way, HAS A BRIEF CAMEO), AND KOALE Is Es­pe­cially mov­ing As A MAIMED man who Is still Grate­ful For HIS Army SER­VICE AND wants to re­join HIS unit. An Ex­cel­lent Scott HAZE makes THE most of A painful But re­demp­tive SCENE As A man who will For­ever BE CHANGED By A Bul­let wound to THE BRAIN. As For SCHUMER, she’s to BE COM­MENDED For HER un­der­stated por­trayal of A Hurt­ing Army widow - But THE role Is too BRIEF For us to re­ally GET past THE “wow, that’s Amy SCHUMER” mo­ment.

In THE END, though, what will stick with you most ARE those De­press­ing BU­REAU­CRACY scenes, SHIN­ING A NEEDED LIGHT Into THE or­deal re­turn­ing sol­diers FACE try­ing to RE-IN­TE­GRATE Into A so­ci­ety that still Doesn’t seem to quite know How to Ab­sorb them. Hall HAS SAID HIS Goal was to Con­tinue THE Con­ver­sa­tion HE BE­GAN In “AMER­I­CAN Sniper.” HE HAS, AND It’s A Con­ver­sa­tion that NEEDS to keep GO­ING.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Miles Teller in a scene from,’thank You for Your Ser­vice.’ Miles Teller (left) and Beu­lah Koale in a scene from the film.

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