• Thank You For Your Service

    Released By: Universal
    Released On: January 23, 2018.
    Director: Jason Hall
    Cast: Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale
    Year: 2017
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Based on the book by David Finkel, with screenplay and Directing handled by Jason Hall of American Sniper fame, Thank You For Your Service focuses on three veterans of multiple tours of duty returning home to the real world, with great expectations and haunted memories of the past. Adam Schumann (Miles Teller) thinks longingly of his family while tortured by the thought that he may have caused permanent brain damage to a fellow soldier. Tausolo Aieti (Beulah Koale) is coming home to his very pregnant wife, and a future of being a family man, knowing that he is responsible for not pulling a buddy out of a flaming humvee. And Billy Waller (Joe Cole of Peaky Blinders) thinks he's coming back to the girl of his dreams, the woman that he's going to marry.

    The minute that they step off of the troop transport, it's obvious that things in the real world are not going to be rosy. Schumann is faced with the wife of a dead comrade (Amy Schumer, who is amazing in the little screen time she has), a slap in the face to his multiple years of service and a real-life notification that he was most definitely not all that he could be. Billy scans the tarmac for a fiance who does not appear. And Aieti grins and bears it, holding back his inner turmoil. As the three settle back into civilian life, the cracks start to appear. Schumann deals with a wife and daughter he no longer knows, and an infant son he's never met. Hunting with Aieti does him no favours, as his hallucinations bring to life enemies in the bush, and Aieti has his own thing going on; disjointed and apathetic as his efforts to return to his unit and get back into what he knows best are hampered by poor results on psych evaluations.

    It's poor Billy, though, who is the first to fold; returning to an empty house with no furniture, he realizes that the girl he's based all of his homecoming dreams on has moved forward without him. Billy seems capable of dealing, at first, drinking with the boys and talking all manner of shit, but eventually leaves all of the bravado behind to come to terms with his grief at the end of the barrel of a gun. Schumann and Aieti quickly follow suit, with the former contemplating the feel of a 12-gauge under his chin, and the latter freaking the hell out on his pregnant girl when a game of Call of Duty goes wrong. Finding help is no easy task, with government red tape creating months-long waiting periods; and while Schumann holds it steady with intense brooding, Aieti turns to illicit drugs and the criminal underworld to find satisfaction.

    In a rather obsequious manner, Thank You For Your Service pays homage to the central themes of the novel; that being bureaucracy and how it ignores those in need of assistance most; while also attempting to be both cinematic and dramatic, to mixed effect. The cinematic is fantastic, with the desert warfare scenes ringing heavily on the heart as we witness loss, the attempt to rebuild, and the ultimate collapse of human will in the three characters. We feel their plight, a testament to the abilities of the actors, as they attempt to move past their mental injuries and assimilate with society, but ultimately give in to the weaknesses acquired in combat....a very sad story.

    But while these human emotions will undoubtedly serve as the high mark of the film, it's the cheap shots that bring the film down, most notably Aieti's delving into the underworld for satisfaction, and the dramatic drive-by nonsense that unfolds. In this, Hall does a genuine disservice to the source material, turning a heartfelt story into an action-adventure complete with stereotypical bad guys for the viewer's entertainment. It's unfortunate that this culminates in the silly twist ending to the film; proof that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but it also often makes for a more satisfying conclusion.


    Universal brings Thank You For Your Service to Blu-ray with DVD and Digital Download in an AVC-encoded 2.40:1 transfer. The film looks fantastic, with solid blacks, great detail, dynamic colour palette, and no issues to be found, what would be expected from a modern film.

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack sounds amazing through my 5.1 setup, with tasteful use of the surrounds for the score and mild atmospheric use, without being overbearing or idiotic. A DTS 5.1 Spanish Track is also included, along with English Subs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as French and Spanish Subtitles. English Descripitve Video Service is also available here.

    Extras contain (outside of the trailers leading to the feature) Staging A War(12:20) a look at the film with Miles Teller, Jason Hall, David Finkel and others talking about the film, the roles, and how this differs from your typical war movie.

    The Battle At Home (7:37) is more of the same, with a focus on the veterans coming home from war.

    The Final Word:

    More flawed than it should be, Thank You For Your Service nonetheless offers a brief look into the PTSD affecting veterans, and the Universal Blu-ray is a fine way to see the film. Those more interested in fact than fiction can track down Finkel's book of the same name.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!