When the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Baghdad is rocked by a rooftop attack, leaving one man severely wounded, the men soon return home to what they think is a peaceful existence. Sergeant Adam Schumann (Miles Teller) is the leader of this group of Armymen which includes Tausolo Aieti (Beulah Koale), Will Waller (Joe Cole), and Michael Adam Emory (Scott Haze). Each man has finished fighting but the fight seems to have followed each to their doorstep back in the states.
Schumann struggles to adapt back into family life with his wife (Haley Bennett), concerned that the man she knew is now just an empty shell. She is worried he has lost an important part of himself. Fellow soldier Aieti suffered a brain injury during combat and now relies on MDMA to self-medicate. Waller comes home to find his wife and kid gone and Emory can barely walk or go to the bathroom by himself.
Each actor gives a fantastic performance in Thank You for Your Service. Miles Teller continues to dazzle as he plays the heroic Schumann, a dedicated soldier who puts others before himself. An Oscar nomination doesn’t seem too far away for this young actor. The same can be said for Beulah Koale, whose portrayal of Tausolo Aieti is perhaps of the finest performances of the year. These two actors carry this film and make it soar to great heights. Haley Bennett is also decent as Schumann’s emotionally-drained wife. Even funny woman Amy Schumer has a small role as a wife riddled with grief, a unique and dramatic turn from the actress.
Now, while this film has some cliches and can be seen as a bit melodramatic at times, it is a very absorbing and fine tuned picture that shows soldiers and war in a realistic and sobering way. PTSD is no joke and those afflicted by it have gone on to do terrible things far away from the battlefield. Some bring the battle home with them and the results are often pretty tragic. Thank You for Your Service may not be Born on the Fourth of July or even Full Metal Jacket but it is a fine film with a lot to say. Veterans seem to put up with a lot of injustice and there are scenes here at the Veterans Affairs office that illustrate that nicely. Director Jason Hall (who wrote American Sniper) has painted an easy to digest, sometimes disturbing picture of soldiers and PTSD. If you know a veteran, someone in combat currently or are just curious about the mental effects of war, then this film might be right up your alley. Thank You for Your Service is definitely on my radar.