The Movie: 9/10
Wow. I knew nothing about this movie. I had preconceived notions that were WRONG, and I humbly admit that this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I don’t want to give away much of it. A lot of why I was so engrossed in the story was because I had no clue what it was going to be about, and then no idea where it was going from moment to moment. I like that feeling of getting lost in a story without trailers or blurbs from advertising floating in my head to mark certain scenes that you think “Oh yea saw that in the trailer”.
The story is about a man who asks two of his fellow Vietnam Veteran friends to accompany him on a journey. It’s a sad journey, but then turns into an examination of what it means to be a person in this world. That might seem extreme, but that’s what I took away from it. The rules we have for behavior, our expectations of war heroes and Veterans, and of how we all cope with loss, fear, change, death, it really does point at all of it and I appreciate the guts it takes to really be honest about some of the things we all blindly go along with as part of a nation or society.
The performances are amazing. I am not a fan of Lawrence Fishburne or Bryan Cranston. I mean, I have liked them in specific things over the years, but nothing that has ever made me swoon. I’m swooning now. They both commit so intensely to their characters, and even though Cranston is a bit over the top its convincing as a person we all know. Carell won me over in his other serious roles and this time he is just as convincing and just as solid as he inhabits a man who is somewhat broken, but strong in his own way.
I will say this is partially a road movie, partially a fish out of water (pardon the Fishburne pun), partially a coming of age (even though these men are not part of the age group we associate that theme with), and it has a moral center that evolves, changes, looking at life and being human from different angles, not just one. It’s a thinking movie but with a lot of laughs and a LOT of tears! I had puffy eyes the rest of the day, not just from the sadness, but it reached in an touched my heart in a lot of ways. The reason for that kind of emotional connection is the combination of the cast, writing, and directing, without all those coming together with the right balance of humor and heartbreak, it would be a very different movie.
Get the tissues, a blanket, a glass of wine, and watch this movie with an open mind and open heart. It will surprise you, and that’s a big deal for someone like me who isn’t easy to surprise anymore:)
- Unexpected Journey: Making The Last Flag Flying (16 Minutes) – EPK style featurette with interviews with cast and Director.
- Outtakes (9 Minutes)
- Deleted Scenes (6 Minutes)
- Veterans Day (6 Minutes) – Focusing on the scene in the film with the caskets in the hanger.
- Blu-ray & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 8/10
The image on the cover does what it should. It shows us three men and hints at their differences, their journey, and it isn’t trying to be something else. I might have this as a poster, but I’m not a huge fan of just big faces of famous people on my wall:)
Audio & Video: 8/10
Last Flag Flying comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate and a AVC encoded 1080P transfer in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Filmed in 4K and down converted the movie looks sharp and detailed throughout. I did detect some camera artifacts during some panning shots but these are part of the source material.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is typical of this kind of movie. Dialog is central and ambient effects come from the surround speakers during scenes involving crowds of people. The score is very subtle and is delivered cleanly to each speaker. LFE is non existant but that is down to the type of movie it is.
Overall Score 9/10