It’s only June, but studios are already gearing up for the impending awards season. As such, a major announcement comes today about filmmaker Richard Linklater’s next movie, Last Flag Flying, along with the first image from the film. The movie is actually a quasi-sequel to the 1973 Hal Ashby comedy The Last Detail and stars Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne as a trio of Vietnam veterans who are mourning the loss of Carell’s character’s son in the early days of the Iraq War.
The film has been selected to open the New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and as such a synopsis has been unveiled that reads 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.
NYFF director and selection chair describes the film as “infectiously funny, quietly shattering, celebratory, mournful, meditative, intimate, expansive, vastly entertaining, and all-American in the very best sense,” so in other words, a great Richard Linklater movie. This is one that I found a curious choice of material for Linklter in the wake of Boyhood and his sorely underseen gem Everybody Wants Some!!, but reading this description and the praise by Jones, it’s starting to make sense—this is less a buddy road comedy than a meditation on post-9/11 America.
The opening film at the NYFF is a prestigious honor, and has been the starting place for many awards hopefuls in recent years like 13th, The Walk, Gone Girl, and Captain Phillips, so it’ll be interesting to see how Last Flag Flying plays. The Amazon Studios film will have its world premiere at the festival on September 28th and opens in theaters on November 17th.
Check out the first image below, via NYFF and Amazon Studios.