Last Flag Flying
8th October 2017 6.00pm at Odeon Leicester Square
9th October 2017 11.15am at Odeon Leicester Square
10th October 2017 8.45pm at Hackney Picturehouse
Richard Linklater loves to swim with his characters, and his movies always invite the viewer to the pool. His latest film is a spiritual sequel to The Last Detail, a New Hollywood movie from 1973 directed by Hal Ashby. Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) gathers his old army buddies from Vietnam, hilariously played by Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne, to take a road trip and help arrange his son’s funeral, who died fighting in Iraq.
The scenes unfold in typical Linklater style, with characters engaging in long and eloquent dialogues that one can’t help but be immersed in. Doc, Sal (Cranston), and Mueller (Fishburne) all have their differences and little annoyances, but connect in a strong and hilarious friendship. Most of the humour comes from Cranston, who plays to both his comedy and dramatic strengths as the anti-authority figure of the group. There are times when it feels like he’s impersonating Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail, but the viewer quickly realises Cranston’s performance is unique in its own way. Carrell is given his most tragic role to date, igniting such introverted fury at the emotional punches his character endures. It’s worlds away from Michael Scott.
Last Flag Flying shares narrative similarities with Hal Ashby’s film, but is underlined with deeper emotions. The characters express their frustrations of the modern world in unique ways of speaking – discussing the existence of God, criticising the Iraq and Vietnam Wars, and sharing a general disenchantment with the modern world. Although they often go off-tangent, nothing feels superfluous or irrelevant. The audience enjoys their conversations, no matter how ridiculous they get. As with many Linklater movies, this is not a picture with twists and turns and different directions – the journey merely unfolds with the characters, and the viewer feels privileged to join them.
Poignant and moving, Last Flag Flying pulls the audience into the scary world of warfare and the impact war has on people – when fighting, and when at home. There is a beautiful mixture of boisterous hilarity and heart-rending emotion – we laugh through the tears and cry through the laughter. We crumble and are uplifted at the same time.
Last Flag Flying does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2017 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Last Flag Flying here: