I was supposed to watch Last Flag Flying a couple of weeks back, but due to circumstances beyond my control (Laziness), I’m watching it now. Set during the first year of the War in Iraq in 2003, a father of a fallen soldier (Carell) finds two marines he served in Vietnam with to help bury his son. When Doc finds out the circumstances behind his son’s death, he becomes resentful and opts to take his son’s body back to New Hampshire with a drunk bar owner (Cranston) and a preacher (Fishburne) by his side. Last Flag Flying is a dark bare bones tale of grief and regret carried by a great veteran cast of actors. Bryan Cranston plays a drunken rowdy ex-Marine who continues to live in the past. He is the complete antithesis of Laurence Fishburne’s character who wants to move as far away from his past as possible. The trio’s camaraderie is what makes the film feel authentic, at least in the sense of real people dealing with the consequences of their actions.
The film has a very strong anti-war message and is very critical of the Bush Administration who oversaw the War in Iraq during this time period. The cinematography nails the tone of small-town America with dark and gloomy visuals that keeps the narrative in perspective. Even the comedy is dark, but it is all done by design sell the environment of the film. The core of this story is grief over the loss of a loved one and while the film captures the emotional pain of past choices, it doesn’t quite have the impact to be as memorable as they were hoping. With that said Amazon Studios is building a solid catalog of films as Last Flag Flying is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
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