Thank You for Your Service

A well-intentioned misfire, Thank You for Your Service follows three men (Miles Teller’s Adam, Beulah Koale’s Aieti, and Joe Cole’s Will) as they return from duty in Iraq and attempt to readjust to civilian life. It’s an almost excessively familiar setup that’s employed to middling effect by first-time filmmaker Jason Hall, which is a shame, certainly, given the relative strength of the movie’s opening stretch – with the been-there-done-that vibe initially allayed by a palpable sense of authenticity and a selection of better-than-average performances. (In terms of the latter, Teller is certainly as good as he’s ever been here.) Problems emerge as Hall, working from his own screenplay, delivers a slow-moving midsection that’s riddled with less-than-engrossing elements, and there’s little doubt that Hall’s meandering modus operandi paves the way for an often tedious second half – with the viewer, past a certain point, wishing that the filmmaker would just get on with it, already. The character-study-like atmosphere ultimately isn’t strong or potent enough to justify a nearly two-hour running time, while Hall’s decision to hit certain all-too-conventional notes undoubtedly exacerbates the viewer’s growing disinterest in the proceedings. By the time the decidedly lackluster conclusion rolls around, which is hardly as emotionally affecting as Hall has obviously intended, Thank You for Your Service has confirmed its place as a nonstarter that’s made all-the-more disappointing given the earnestness of the subject matter.

** out of ****

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