After The Call of Duty - Last Flag Flying (REVIEW)
Im a big fan of Richard Linklaters "Before" Trilogy. It is so well done. His other films ive seen have been luke warm for me. None that i havent liked in someway but none really hit it out of the park like those 3 did. So i was cautiously optimistic going into this film.I had a good time with the film. Tte cast of Bryan Cranston, Lawrence Fishburne and Steve Carell make for a great trio of guys who share a common bond fighting in the Vietnam war that outside of that are 3 very different people who come together to help mourn Larry Shepard's (Carell) son who was killed in Afghanistan in 2003. It follows the 3 of the across a part of the country as they bring his son home to be buried.
The performances were great across the board. Fishburne as a nevly reformed man of the cloth, cranston as the wise cracking no nosense propeller of the film and Carell as the sweet quiet man who just wants his son to be happily taken care of with the help of his army buddies. Cranston shoulders most of dialogue with wit charm and snark but its Carells understated demenor that makes for the real star of the show. The film often saves hin words for when they matter and thah is what makes you listen and care about his character. This could have easily been a melodramatic eff you to the millitary if it wasnt in more deft hands. That exasperation is definitely there and the military is the bad guy of the film but it does try to give them a slight positive spin where it can. This group of men make the best of a bad situation and in doing so right some wrongs and clear the air with one another.
It did tend to drag a bit for me. Cranston kept things on their toes with his constant questions and sense of fun but the dour nature of the film made it drag its feet a bit for me. I enjoyed watching all these characters interact and fall into old patterns together, buying cell phones becomes a wonderful little moment between friends that could only work in that setting. It the little moments of joy that Linklater gets so well. He pulls out the best and worst of the everyday and lets the scenes pay out with actors who just have to work their hardest to be their most natural selves for the film and the results really show themselves in a scene about the sexual exploits of Larry Shepard at "Disneyland".
I'd say this is a good film by a great filmmaker. If you enjoy Linklater's work then you'll enjoy this one. A road trip film is what he excels at, what do you do when you travel? You talk to the people you travel with. Talking about the past, the future, differences in ideologies, and right some wrongs along the way and as is a custom there is a gut punch that is just enough to bring it all home.
A worthwhile trip