Benjamin Maio Mackay
Last Flag Flying - 5 Stars
Poignant, harrowing and beautifully crafted. Richard Linklater strikes again.
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
This film proves, yet again that Steve Carell is one of the greatest actors of the generation. Not only does he give a powerhouse performance, but he commands the screen with often utter silence. This is a masterful performance. Bryan Cranston is also incredible, his performance is filled with subtlety and honesty. Laurence Fisburne rounds out the trio excellently, but is less memorable in his performance. The supporting cast of J. Quinton Johnson and Vul Vazquez are perfect in their smaller roles.
Richard Linklater has an ability as both a writer and director to delve further into the human consciousness then we as people often dare to. His films don’t necessarily cover long stretches of time or remarkable events, he spends his time looking into the soul. This film has so many layers, discussing war, race, religion, death, service and more - yet it makes it exceptionally personal. Everything is real, it is an immersive experience. He also utilises every single frame in the film. There are often brief details in a silent shot that help emphasise the point of the film (or scene) and add additional perspective. It’s a remarkable achievement.
Overall one of the single best films to come out in a very long time and certainly one of my all time favourites.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Transmission Films