Last Flag Flying

Director: Richard Linklater
Year Released: 2017
Rating: 1.5

Vietnam Vet Doc (Steve Carell) reconnects with two former Marine buddies from the Service, bar-owner Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Reverend Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), after hearing the news his only son was killed in the Middle East ... and the three of them drive down to Dover Air Force Base to reclaim the body. Linklater, one of the cinema's great humanists, shows deep compassion for his characters and their situation, but this is clunky in its presentation: Doc just sits there, mousy and emotionally exhausted, while Sal (the hedonist) says inappropriate things and the sanctimonious Reverend corrects him - there's also no genuine reason why they'd come together after so many years apart since they have little in common (the dialogue, too, could have used some re-working). In the final act it becomes mawkish (namely the trip to Boston) and super-patriotic (without irony), which one would expect from a filmmaker with considerably less skill.