Memorial Day movies: ‘Taking Chance’ is a way to understand those who serve

Since today is Memorial Day, here is a movie you should consider seeing if you can find it. My brother, serving honorably in Iraq, recommended it and I’ll take his word on it. It’s called “Taking Chance” and stars Kevin Bacon. This is what reviewer Robert Davis said about the movie, which was nominated for the Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival:

Taking Chance is a very simple film about Lt. Col. Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon) who is escorting the body of a fallen PFC named Chance Phelps to his family. In under ninety minutes, the film bears witness to the respectful procedures that the USMC follows in such situations and to the reactions of ordinary Americans who Strobl meets on this particular journey. He doesn’t know the Private, and we learn only a few details about Strobl himself, but I found the film to be one of the most moving experiences I’ve had in a theater, almost indescribably so. Bacon’s solidity and restraint bind the minimal plot together, as do the tasteful decisions made by filmmaker Ross Katz, a producer-turned-director (he produced Lost in Translation and In the Bedroom) who tells the story with remarkable efficiency, never lingering past a scene’s essential moment, never overplaying the emotion. It’s the best feature film about America’s involvement in Iraq that I’ve seen. I’m not a military guy, and I’ve never had much interest in the Marines, but after the screening I needed some time to walk around.

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