LAST FLAG FLYING – Rated R – 2 hrs 5 mins
Starring Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston,
Written and Directed by Richard Linklater (BOYHOOD, SCHOOL OF ROCK, DAZED and CONFUSED), we enter into the life of Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell), trying to come to terms with the death of his son, a Marine, serving in the Iraq War.
Having lost his wife already as well, Doc decides to seek out two of the buddies he served with in Vietnam, Reverend Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), and Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston), and asks them to join him on the journey he must now face, retrieving his son’s body.
As Doc tries to keep it together, making the unexpected road trip with his two comrades in tow, these soldiers find themselves having to face many realities of their present existence, and past lives as soldiers straight in the face, having raised their own ruckus “back in the day”…
When Doc makes the decision to bury his son back home in New Hampshire, and not in Arlington Cemetery…this decision rocks not only the Marine’s in charge of his body, but the good Reverend, and Sal too…as they try to support Doc in his time of need, as best they know how…
I give LAST FLAG FLYING a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN: Linklater has written and directed another incredible film to go along with my other favorites of his – Including 1993’s DAZED and CONFUSED, 2003’s SCHOOL OF ROCK, 2014’s BOYHOOD and last year’s baseball/college “fun time had by all” EVERYBODY WANTS SOME. From the storyline Linklater created, to the superb performances he garnered from all three of his leading men ~ their teamwork manages to bring to life this incredibly sad, moving, yet comedic at times storyline, and in a way that is so real, you can’t help but be deeply moved by every frame of this film. It was also very enjoyable to see Carell and Fisburne step out of their “Usual roles” as Carell isn’t slated as “the funny guy” this time around and Fishburne’s role as the reverend and family man, takes him totally out of character, as his role is very far removed from what we are accustomed to seeing him perform as well. And Cranston, well he manages to steal almost each and every scene he’s in, as the womanizing alcoholic, but a very caring man nonetheless. I was so captivated by this film, and its performances, that I personally think it is Linklater’s best work yet, as it also evoked a moving response from almost everyone in the house that viewed it with me…yep, you guessed it… it’s that good!!!!
Last Flag Flying
Cast: Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston & Laurence Fishburne
Director: Richard Linklater
Last Flag Flying is the story of a Navy veteran who asks two of his old Vietnam buddies to help him bury his young Marine son that was killed during the Iraq War.
I actually didn’t think I was a fan of director Richard Linklater until I drifted back into my dusty memory banks and pulled out some of his past films. And…to be honest, I am a fan. I forgot how many entertaining films he’s done. Dazed & Confused (“alright alright alright”), Suburbia (hidden nugget of fun), The Newton Boys, School of Rock, & A Scanner Darkly (Robert Downey Jr. was terrific in this) are just a few of his hits. And now I’m going to add Last Flag Flying to the list. I enjoyed this film. It had real humor and grief stricken emotion throughout it and those are two things that are very hard to combine in a film. One minute you’re laughing with these characters and the next you’re wishing you could give them a shoulder to cry on. This is a movie that is exactly what you think it is going to be and it doesn’t apologize for it and nor should it. You know it’s going to be sad and you’re hoping there will be some sort of levity to it and there is, but at the same time it’s about the grieving process and the different ways we can look at how we heal in times of depression. Am I getting too deep? Have I lost you? Let’s move on to something more cheerful like…
Mr. Tim Whatley (for my Seinfeld fans) a.k.a. BRYAN CRANSTON!!!
Not to take anything away from the performances of Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne (both did very good jobs), but my attention was always drawn to Bryan Cranston. I love watching him perform. He’s such a great actor and is genuinely entertaining in this. His character is the comic relief of the film and he literally doesn’t hold back. He says what he thinks and does what he says, which makes for some very entertaining scenes; especially with Laurence Fishburne’s character (who is a reverend…LOL). And by the way, it was very nice to see Fishburne finally play a character that wasn’t either a kung fu expert (Morpheus), a forgotten mystery (Predators), or just a bad mofo with a gun (everything else he’s EVER been in…just kidding). It seemed like he got out of his comfort zone and played a character with heart and morales. Fishburne didn’t really steal any scenes in the film, but you knew his presence was there and that made for a very good performance. Steve Carell seemed to also step out of his comfort zone too with his role as the father of the marine that was killed. Carell keeps taking chances with his performances and continues to do good work. I can’t wait to see what else he’s got up his sleeve in the near future (tennis anyone?). So to briefly sum this one up, I would say this is a film you should watch at home instead of at the theater, but it is definitely worth watching. Until next time, thanks for reading.
This humble opinion was brought to you by T. K. Edwards