Last Flag Flying (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

Last Flag Flying (2017)

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Critic Consensus: Last Flag Flying balances raw drama against refreshing moments of humor in an impeccably cast film that wrestles with questions of patriotism, family, and grief.

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In 2003, 30 years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Corps medic Richard "Doc" Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-unites with Former Marines Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne) on a different type of mission: to bury Doc's son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Doc decides to forgo a burial at Arlington Cemetery and, with the help of his old buddies, takes the casket on a bittersweet trip up the East Coast to his home in suburban New Hampshire. Along the way, Doc, Sal and Mueller reminisce and come to terms with shared memories of the war that continues to shape their lives. Director Richard Linklater and author Darryl Ponicsan collaborated on the screenplay which follows the trio as they wrestle with the pangs of war both past and present.

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Critic Reviews for Last Flag Flying

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (40)

The film ... seems uncertain of its own unusualness as Linklater eventually opts for a piece that is little more than a road movie and its rhythm stalls.

November 24, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

While Last Flag Flying has moments of lightness and levity, it's ultimately a sombre and moving tale about the trials that life throws in our path and how we move on with a little help from our friends.

November 24, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"Last Flag Flying" is about the lies we tell ourselves, the lies the government tells us, the fights we fight and how they all inform the memories we mold.

November 23, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Neither an indictment nor an endorsement of war, "Last Flag Flying" reclaims patriotism as a uniter, not a divider.

November 22, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

While conventional in execution and its underlying anti-war/pro-soldier sentiments, "Flag" nevertheless is buttressed by a warm humanity and stirring performances from Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and, especially, Steve Carell.

November 17, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Last Flag Flying lacks the casual, lived-in realism you usually find in a Linklater film. You don't buy the men as long-separated pals, and so you don't really buy the premise the connection that caused Doc to seek out these men is not visible on screen.

November 16, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Last Flag Flying

½

It's 2003 and the memory of 9/11 is still fresh in the minds of most people. It's a time when men of a certain age found the noble thing to do to be to stand up and volunteer to fight for their country, to hunt down the Taliban, and rid the world of this evil that dared to disrupt the previous decade of peace America had experienced with the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. This marked the first opportunity for those that were just old enough to remember hints of the conflict in the Gulf War that presented a cause of their own to fight for. One of those who decided to take it upon themselves to do so was Larry 'Doc' Shepherd's son, Larry Jr., a Marine who we learn at the onset of the latest film from director Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, the Before trilogy) has been killed in action. It is in this tragedy and the context of these events that Linklater and co-writer Darryl Ponicsan, who also wrote the book this film is based on (and is something of a spiritual sequel to his 1970 novel, The Last Detail, which was also turned into a movie starring Jack Nicholson), come to examine the toll taken, the treatment versus the empty appreciation, and if the ultimate sacrifice would have been an easier route to take than the price most veterans pay for the rest of their lives. Last Flag Flying was initially published in 2004 and so it is very much a product of this great national tragedy itself where there was this immediate unification and call to action that lasted until many soldiers seemed to realize that such action wasn't all it was cracked up to be. That said, Linklater doesn't seem to be interested in making a political film, but rather one about the particular personalities of his three subjects and the necessary appreciation of their perspectives. It just so happens the military and the military lifestyle play a major role in who each of these men were and still are due to the fact this all-powerful entity is still dictating the way in which their lives and the lives of their loved ones do or do not play out. Like many Linklater films, there is more to Last Flag Flying than initially meets the eye as, on the surface, this largely looks to be a road trip movie that documents the rekindling of friendships with the power to work as a healing process for a single parties recent tragedy, but while the film serves this obvious purpose it also means to be a meditation on identity as well as who and/or how we allow that identity to be defined after we're gone. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com

Philip Price
Philip Price

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