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Last Flag Flying - Film Review

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by Margaret Barker (MaggieB) (subscribe)
I am a retired English teacher who has retired from teaching but not from life, which I intend to live to the full. With all my hobbies, I'm busier now than ever with my art groups, small business and gardening.
Published April 15th 2018
Every journey has a beginning, every journey must end
Image courtesy of Studio Canal

I've just seen one of those films that are low budget, no big- name stars, no graphic fight scenes or special effects. Yet, it is one of the best films I've seen in a long while. The movie, directed by Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying, is one that I would thoroughly recommend for adults. You won't have to wait long as it is to be released on 25th April at the Luna, Corner Oxford and Cambridge Streets, Leederville.

Last Flag Flying is a "feel good" movie. One that has a satisfying ending where all is right with the world. It has a gentle humour and it wasn't me that thought so, the theatre audience was having a chuckle too. It also had its poignant moments where I had to hold back the tears.

Image courtesy of Studio Canal

Thirty years on from Vietnam, Doc, (Steve Carell) a Vietnam War Vet wants to enlist help from two other Vets, Ex-Marine buddies from 'Nam, Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), to help him collect his son's body. His son died in the Iraq war. Softly spoken Doc, the youngest, with a strong sense of what's right, is the introvert. He finds Sal in a sleazy bar. Sal is loud, likes the ladies and likes his drink a little too much. He believes that people needed to be told the truth, no matter the consequences. The last of the trio, Mueller had been the one who drank more and whored more while in Vietnam, had become Pastor Richard. Sal provides most of the humour with the pastor providing a foil to his barbs.

Doc's son had been in the marines, just like his Dad. Doc had been told that his son died a hero. Consequently, he was to be given a full military funeral and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, one reserved for heroes. However, Doc finds out how his son really died and it wasn't as a hero. He didn't want his son to be buried in Arlington, but in the cemetery in his hometown.

Image courtesy of Studio Canal

The military wasn't happy. This was during the Bush era, where image was important and lying to maintain that image was important. They wanted a hero. And so, begins their journey, the trio and the coffin, travel up the Eastern Coast of America, bringing Doc's, son's body home.

Along the way, we find out more about the three and their time in Vietnam. We also discover they have a secret, one that they still felt ashamed about. A secret that is resolved on their journey.

Image courtesy of Studio Canal

The characters discuss the futility of fighting a war for another country but it's not an anti-war movie rather one about the importance of comradery and friendship. It's a complicated movie with complicated themes.

The ending is satisfying where all the loose ends are nicely tied up. A little predictable but appropriate. It leaves you feeling satisfied, that all is right with the world. It leaves you with a happy ever after feeling. It really was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. Whether or not appropriate, Last Flag Flying is to be released on April 25th, ANZAC day.

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*Margaret Barker (MaggieB) was invited as a guest
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