Last Flag Flying Reviews
However, it feels about 30 minutes too long. Some scenes serve little purpose except to express the directors opinions or observations and they interrupt the flow of the story. Maybe it's a case of the director being unable to 'kill his darlings'. A scene where Cranston talks about mobile phones (the film is set in 2003) feels like pure self-indulgence from Linklater.
The last act is almost undone by the funeral scene, which feels at odds with what has gone before. A maudlin song is played over the ceremony, while the scene strives for emotion. But it feels overworked and borders on being banal. The film is also let down by some lazy camerawork and it can sometimes feel like watching low budget TV.
Overall, a quietly touching film, enhanced by its actors and let down by its length and poor production values.
It surprised me how it ended. I really wasn't sure what to expect except that I know I liked it alot more than I expected. Very emotional piece.
I wanted to like this one more than I did. It just never goes anywhere.
Based on a true story, Last Flag Flying follows Richard (Steve Carell), a former United States Marine who is informed that his son (who's also in the Marines) has been killed in combat. Seeking the help of his old friends in Sal and Mueller from decades ago, they embark on a quest to bring Richard's son's body home, as he doesn't want him buried with the rest of his crew. This is literally the only major plot that's followed throughout the film, but there's so much going on under the surface for each character that I just couldn't take my eyes off the screen. It never hurts when you have a director that knows exactly how to work with actors and ends up getting lucky with some of the most talented actors in these roles.
Linklater's films have always been about the characters first and foremost. If you don't buy into any of the characters, then it's highly unlikely that you'll end up enjoying the movie. That being said, each one of these characters is distinctly different, but Carell, Cranston, and Fishburne all do their utmost to truly embody these figures. Once again, I found myself invested in each and every scene, being moved along by the terrifically written dialogue from start to finish. The conversations between characters feel so natural, and that all comes back (once again) to writer/director Richard Linklater.
His unique/natural writing always leaps off the screen and his directing isn't too shabby either, but I feel the true star of this film is the story itself. It really makes you take a step back and appreciate what you had in the past because the future isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Even through dark times, there's always light to brighten up certain situations. The final act of this film left me in tears, due to the fact that I had no clue who any of these characters were in the beginning, and found myself attached to whatever they were going to say next by the end.
In the end, although very slow-moving, the dialogue moves Last Flag Flying along at a very brisk pace. This two-hour picture feels about 90 minutes long in my opinion and if you're into hard-hitting dramas, then I'd have to recommend looking no further than this. An older demographic will definitely get more out of this film than the millennials of today, but that's not to say that everyone can't enjoy this movie. Meticulously directed in terms of character, wonderfully written in terms of dialogue, and impeccably executed in terms of bringing the audience from point A to point B throughout long periods of time, this is a road trip movie that will have you laughing out loud and weeping all at once. I can't recommend Last Flag Flying enough.