For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Road Trip Movies, here’s a review of Last Flag Flying (2017) by Keith of Keith Loves Movies
Thanks again to Simon of Moustache Movie News for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Michael Eddy and it is Hitchockian Films.
Hitchcock films by the master himself and the best “Hitchcock films” not directed by Hitchcock.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of January by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Mike!
Let’s see what Keith thought of this movie:
For as long as there have been films, there have been road trip films. While the trailers make it look like a road trip film but it’s much more than that. This film either succeeds or fails based on the relationship between the three leads. In this case, they are the best part of the film by far. The fact that they were very fun to watch together made up for the story lacking some depth in approaching the issues it presents.
The story was about three, over the hill Vietnam war veterans Larry ‘Doc’ Shepherd (Carell), Sal Nealon (Cranston), and Richard Mueller (Fishburne) who reunite after 30 years to help bury Shepherd’s son, a marine killed in the Iraq War. There were some road trip elements, watching the three rekindle their friendship while they reminisced about their time in the war. Their time affected each in different ways, but the film could have explored this angle a little more than it did as it only touched the surface.
Shepherd didn’t want to bury his son at Arlington Cemetery, the common destination for most fallen soldiers, but rather near his home in New Hampshire. Not being buried at Arlington was unusual though their conflict with the establishment was also something that the film could have explored a little more than it did. Through this, the three met a young marine who served with Shepherd’s son named Charlie Washington (J. Quinton Johnson). The exchanges between Washington and the other three were fun to watch as we learned how things have changed since they were Marines which of course came with some old people moments.
To balance out the film’s darker subject matter, the film introduces some comedy either through Nealon’s lack of a filter or some lighter moments between the three. This worked for the most part, but this perhaps came at the expense of the tone and the depth of the subject matter. This wasn’t as much of a negative, however, because the three were so fun to watch together. Although Nealon and Mueller were shallow characters compared to Shepherd, they still served their purpose as the story was more about Shepherd anyway.
As mentioned, the acting was the best part of the film by far because of the performances of the three leads and their great chemistry, especially Carell who provides his best performance here as Shepherd. Most viewers are used to seeing him in comedies, so this role will be a departure as a grieving father, providing a subdued yet emotionally powerful performance. Cranston had some funny lines as the no “F” giving Nealon and Fishburne had a slightly more challenging role as the reformed pastor Mueller, balancing his past and his present.
Overall, this was a is a terrific ensemble drama that gets away with a lack of depth story wise thanks to its excellent performances from its three leads including a career best from Steve Carell.