Taglines: Their Last Mission Wasn’t On The Battlefield.
Set in December 2003, Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) visits the bar of Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston), a former Marine that he served with in Vietnam. After introducing himself, Doc, a Navy corpsman briefly mentions his bad-conduct discharge and subsequent incarceration in the US Navy prison. The next morning, Sal and Doc drive to the church of another friend from Vietnam, Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), where he is the pastor. At Mueller’s house that evening, Doc reveals that his wife had recently passed away, and the purpose of his trip was to ask his friend to accompany him to retrieve and bury his son, Larry, who had recently been killed in Iraq. Sal agrees, while Mueller is initially reluctant to leave; at the insistence of his wife he eventually agrees and they begin the trip to Washington DC.
Along the way, Sal expresses his frustration in Mueller, who had been referred to as The Mauler in Vietnam for frequently hiring prostitutes, for his reformation and religious adherence. Conversely, Mueller expresses his disappointment that Sal has not matured since they had last seen each other in Vietnam. Upon arriving at Dover Air Force Base, Doc requests to view the body of his son, against the advice of LtCol. Willits (Yul Vazquez). Sal and Mueller are led away by LCpl. Charlie Washington, Larry’s close friend that was with him when he died.
Charlie reveals that Larry had been killed while shopping at an Iraqi market, contrary to the official story of dying while fighting heroically. Doc is distraught after seeing his son’s body, and subsequently learns the truth about how his son died. Against the advice of Willits, Doc demands to take his son’s body and bury him in his hometown of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, rather than Arlington National Cemetery. Sal and Mueller leave to rent a U-Haul truck to carry the coffin, and reveal their abuse of Doc’s morphine supply in Vietnam resulted in a painful death of a fellow Marine and Doc’s bad conduct discharge.
After renting the truck, Mueller is dropped off at a bus station, intending to return home. After loading Larry’s coffin into the truck, Doc and Sal are stopped by Security Forces, as Mueller is simultaneously apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security. The men are released, and Willits admits that their false apprehension came from a suspicious report by the rental agent at U-haul. The three men agree to allow the government to transport Larry’s coffin by train to New Hampshire, accompanied by Charlie.
Last Flag Flying is a 2017 American comedy-drama film directed by Richard Linklater with a screenplay by Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan, based upon the latter’s 2005 novel of the same name. It stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne as three Vietnam War veterans who reunite after one of their sons is killed in the Iraq War.
Ponicsan’s novel Last Flag Flying is a sequel to his 1970 novel The Last Detail, which covered the same characters earlier in their lives. For that reason, Last Flag Flying has been described as an unofficial sequel to the earlier novel’s 1973 film adaptation, The Last Detail. Principal photography began in Pittsburgh in November 2016. The film had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 28, 2017, and was released in the United States by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate on November 3, 2017.
Last Flag Flying (2017)
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, Steve Carell,
Screenplay by: Richard Linklater, Darryl Ponicsan, Deanna Reed-Foster, Graham Wolfe, Tammy Tsai, Richard Barlow, Cathy O’Dell
Production Design by: Bruce Curtis
Cinematography by: Shane F. Kelly
Film Editing by: Sandra Adair
Costume Design by: Kari Perkins
Set Decoration by: Beauchamp Fontaine
Art Direction by: Gregory A. Weimerskirch
Music by: Graham Reynolds
Distributed by: Amazon Studios, Lionsgate Films
Release Date: November 3, 2017