Reconnecting in the Midst of Loss

From left: Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne in “Last Flag Flying”
 
That’s why the audiences can become attached to them, because at certain points in the film, you can look at this trio and picture similar times you’ve had with your friends. This is Linklater’s filmmaking power, to make his viewers recall their own experiences, a skill that makes him one of the best American directors working today.   

What could have been an overly sentimental military-drama is instead a movie that skillfully deals with themes such as reconnection, regrets and loss, all of which are handled with the high level of care and detail that we have come to expect from a director who excels in such relatable topics. Just as with many of Linklater’s other films, he allows scenes to unfold at a deliberate pace without making the film feel slow, which lets us sit back and be absorbed in the opportunity to get to know his characters.  

You can always rely on Linklater to tackle the challenges of life and remain grounded in his approach, rather than making it schmaltzy for the sake of eliciting a cheap emotional response.  The feelings you go through while watching one of his movies are earned because, whether Linklaters characters are older, younger, or the same age as you, you’ve probably had experiences that are similar to the ones that are lived by those characters. In the end, Linklater doesn’t just want to make a good movie; he wants to put a bit of your life on screen.

Final grade: A-