Plot: Adam (Miles Teller) has just returned home after a tour in Iraq, but he struggles to leave his war experiences behind him. He is haunted by an incident where he changed a travel route, only to have his squad ambushed and one of his fellow soldiers sniped in the process. He carried the man out of harm’s way, but dropped him on some stairs and has never been able to move past that incident. Two of his squad mates also returned home at the same time and neither of them is handling the transition well, either. One came back to an empty home and his girlfriend moved on, while the other suffers from severe mental trauma and has trouble in civilian life, just wanting to return to active duty as soon as possible. As the three men try to cope with the past and move on with their lives, they run into constant mental roadblocks and the process to seek out help seems to be insurmountable.
Entertainment Value: While marketed as another hero worship type movie, Thank You For Your Service is more of a dark drama, exploring what happens to battle worn soldiers who return to civilian life. This topic has been breached before, but this movie gives a more personal, intimate approach to the concept. I think my main issue with the movie is that because it tries to focus on multiple characters, it loses a lot of depth and feels rushed at times. Adam is the clear lead and gets the most screen time, but the movie also spends a good deal of screen time on the others. You need a skilled hand to juggle multiple threads like this and that doesn’t happen here. The supporting characters aren’t given enough time to develop, which leads to sudden narrative leaps that diminish the impact of otherwise powerful moments. I also didn’t understand the need to force in a thriller type subplot toward the finale, as if audiences can’t appreciate a drama and need shoehorned action sequences. The performances are fine, I am not a fan of Teller’s work, but the rest of the cast is capable. In the end, Thank You For Your Service tries to do too much and the result is disjointed and lacks the emotional depth this kind of material needs to succeed.
The movie has a few sex scenes, but none them reveal any kind of flesh. One scene has a naked woman pass by the camera, but that’s all the nakedness here. In terms of blood, one war flashback involves a nasty head wound, which is shown in graphic detail and looks quite effective. A lot of gunfire is involved, but no bloodshed outside of that one war sequence. A dark scene does unfold that teeters on domestic violence, as one the men goes a rampage and trashes his own home. The writing is passable, but aside from some bro talk here and there, it is mostly melodrama. Adam’s wife is played by Haley Bennett, who turns the melodrama up to the max. She is fun to watch however, so the melodrama pays off in that respect. But overall, this is a serious movie that has little in terms of memorable or wild dialogue. No real craziness, as I said, this is a serious movie that keeps things grounded.
Overall Insanity: 0/10