Last Flag Flying

By Angie Raphael

4 stars

This bittersweet road trip film has a strong message about war, yet still manages to pay a heartfelt tribute to the real heroes who sacrifice so much for their country. Set in 2003, former navy medic Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-unites with his Vietnam War buddies Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Reverend Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne) for a new mission – to bury his son who has been killed in the Iraq War. Carell, Cranston and Fishburne have great chemistry and each gives a well-rounded performance. Director Richard Linklater, who co-wrote the screenplay with novelist Darryl Ponicsan, has created excellent character depth and development. There is also an interesting exploration of faith in God, country and humankind. Many laughs are peppered throughout the drama too, but some jokes are unnecessary, like a reference to Eminem and another about mobile phone usage in 2003. Last Flag Flying is also a little too long and perhaps one of the hurdles the trio face while transporting the casket could have been cut out of the story. But the film is emotional and very rewarding. Bring tissues for this tear-jerker.