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Trailer for “Last Flag Flying” puts Richard Linklater back in the Oscar race

Earlier today, a Trailer dropped for Richard Linklater’s upcoming pseudo sequel to The Last Detail. It’s called Last Flag Flying and is set to open the New York Film Festival this year. Until now, it’s been purely based on speculation that this movie could be a good one. Well, now that I’ve seen the Trailer, I feel confident in saying this should be in contention during the season. You’ll be able to scope it out later, but right now, we should discuss the flick a bit first. There will obviously be more to come around NYFF time, though that shouldn’t stop us from getting a head start now, should it?

From the looks of it, the film is going to be at least partly a road trip, working as a sort of pseudo sequel to the classic The Last Detail. Back when the NYFF press release hit, Film Society described it thusly: “In Richard Linklater’s lyrical road movie, as funny as it is heartbreaking, three aging Vietnam-era Navy vets—soft-spoken Doc (Steve Carell), unhinged and unfiltered Sal (Bryan Cranston), and quietly measured Mueller (Laurence Fishburne)—reunite to perform a sacred task: the proper burial of Doc’s only child, who has been killed in the early days of the Iraqi Invasion. As this trio of old friends makes its way up the Eastern seaboard, Linklater gives us a rich rendering of friendship, a grand mosaic of common life in the USA during the Bush era, and a striking meditation on the passage of time and the nature of truth. To put it simply, Last Flag Flying is a great movie from one of America’s finest filmmakers.” It appears like there’s buddy comedy aspects at play as well, though always with a somber undertone to it. In case you’re curious how IMDBb describes it now, they put it like this: “Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corps medic Larry “Doc” Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, ex-Marine Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.” Linklater co-writes with Darryl Ponicsan and directs the picture, while the cast besides Carell, Cranston, and Fishburne include Kate Easton, J. Quinton Johnson, Yul Vazquez, and more. Boyhood collaborator Shane F. Kelly handles the cinematography (Boyhood alum Sandra Adair edits as well), while Graham Reynolds provides the score.

Going by the Trailer, this could be a top notch dramedy. Carell especially looks like he could be amazing in his role. There’s a chance this could be his year. Call it a hunch. What’s impressive here is that nothing here feels like a sequel, even though it’s picking up a story decades later. It’s a bold choice by Linklater, known for making them all throughout his career. This could very well pay off in spades. Boyhood didn’t quite get him to the finish line, so maybe this film could be the one to do it? Time will tell, but there’s reason to be optimistic.

Awards wise, Last Flag Flying could end up an across the board contender, though the big categories are where it stands the best likely chance. Look for a candidacy in Best Picture, Best Director (for Linklater), Best Actor (for Carell, unless he goes Supporting), Best Supporting Actor (for Carell, Cranston, and/or Fishburne), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Linklater and Ponicsan), and Best Film Editing. My guess is that Picture, Adapted Screenplay for Linklater and Ponicsan, as well as wherever Carell is campaigned are the best bets. Especially if Carell is good here and in Battle of the Sexes, he could be a force to be reckoned with, either in Actor or Supporting Actor.

Once you see the Last Flag Flying Trailer, you’ll understand why this seems like a legitimate player. Combine the cast (notably Carell), Linklater being due after not taking home any statues for Boyhood, and the power of the story? Yeah, that’s a winning combination. The movie comes out at the beginning of November, so the timing is basically perfect. A lot remains to be seen, but when I update predictions tomorrow, you can bet on this one not losing any ground anywhere. It looks to have the goods. Check out the Trailer now and sit tight for further word on this one soon…

Here now is the Trailer for Last Flag Flying:

Stay tuned for much more on this film once it debuts at NYFF!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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