Trailer: Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying is an old man road trip en route to a funeral


Richard Linklater is best known for peripatetic indies like the Before trilogy, Slacker, and Boyhood, but his filmography is dotted with uncharacteristic entries, like his Bad News Bears remake and School of Rock. Linklater’s last movie, Everybody Wants Some!!, was a semi-autobiographical, feel-good, college sex comedy. His latest movie, Last Flag Flying, is the exact opposite in tone and tenor.

A sequel to Hal Ashby’s 1973 classic The Last Detail, the film follows Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne as veterans reunited to transport and bury one of their sons.

The first trailer for Last Flag Flying debuted today. You can check it out below.

Last Flag Flying – Official US Trailer | Amazon Studios

Here’s an official synopsis for Last Flag Flying:

In 2003, 30 years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Corps medic Richard “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-unites with ex-Marines Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Mueller (Laurence Fishburne) on a different type of mission: to bury Doc’s son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Doc decides to forgo burial at Arlington Cemetery and, with the help of his old buddies, takes the casket on a bittersweet trip up the East Coast to his home in suburban New Hampshire. Along the way, Doc, Sal and Mueller reminisce and come to terms with shared experiences of the war that continue to shape their lives.

Director Richard Linklater and author Darryl Ponicsan collaborated on the screenplay which follows the trio as they wrestle with the pangs of war both past and present.

It may just be the trailer, but Last Flag Flying looks like a prestige, award-season movie rather than the usual, shaggy, quintessential Linklater fare. Perhaps it’s more somber and ruminative than the trailer lets on. I’m willing to give it a shot, and hope it avoids the cliches of many old man movies (i.e., old men act like young men). I also hope the movie isn’t just Oscar reel monologues from Cranston, Carrell, and Fishburne.

Last Flag Flying is the opening night movie at the 2017 New York Film Festival. It comes out November 3rd. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.