Review: Vets tale ‘Thank You for Your Service’ stumbles
Miles Teller and Haley Bennett are the highlights of this tale about the realities soldiers face when returning from war
“Thank You for Your Service” looks frankly at the problems war veterans face when returning home, but wraps itself in a gauze of generic storytelling that feels more like a pamphlet than a movie.
In this inspired-by-true-events tale, Miles Teller, exceptional as usual, plays Adam Schumann, just back from a 2007 tour of Iraq, along with his squad buddies, Solo (Beulah Koale) and Will (Adam Cole).
Adam is hesitant to share details of the war with his wife, Saskia (Haley Bennett), and is trying to put on a brave face for the benefit of her and their two children. But as time goes on, he’s more and more haunted by his war experiences and begins the difficult process of seeking help.
Comparably, Adam has it better than his buds. Will comes home to find an empty residence and a wife who has left him; Solo is plagued with short-term memory loss and yearns to go back overseas where at least things make sense to him.
Writer-director Jason Hall, working from a book by David Finkel, has his heart in the right place, and he sifts through the complicated bureaucracy veterans face when returning home and seeking help from the country for which they fought.
Teller and Bennett give strong performances; the film’s best moments come from them and the exploration of their relationship.
Koale, however, is fighting outside of his weight class, and his performance can’t rise to the level of the others. It doesn’t help that his character gets saddled in a gun-running side-story that has the nuance and depth of a music video plot.
“Thank You for Your Service” tells an important story but is pedestrian in its telling. Vets deserve a better thank you.
‘Thank You for Your Service’
Rated R for strong violent content, language throughout, some sexuality, drug material and brief nudity
Running time: 109 minutes