Friday, March 13, 2009

Taking Chance (2009)

HBO premiered a film last week called "Taking Chance". It stars Kevin Bacon as a soldier who escorts a fallen comrade back home to be buried. The film is short, and long in emotion. The film is directed by Ross Katz who was a producer on "lost in Translation" & "In the Bedroom". The film is written by Katz, and Michael Strobl, and it is a credit to them on how well they get it. PFC Chance Phelps was a real soldier who died in Iraq. Lt. Col. Michael Strobl was the soldier who escorted him back home, and he wrote the story about his experience taking PFC Phelps back home. It is due to this that it feels so real. There is no statements about the war, or agenda in the film. All it shows is how we honor the men that have fallen, and how they touch our lives.

Gone are the days where people spat on our soldiers and called them monsters, yet it still remains in our collective consciousness. After all it wasn't too long ago that this happened. Maybe and possible we feel guilt because of what happened back then. After all these people who wore the uniform weren't responsible for our countries foreign policy. They were following orders, and had no choice. This is what makes "Taking Chance" such a moving piece. Because here WE get it. Here WE understand the sacrifice, and here WE are shown it.

Taking Chance tries to show us the dignity and respect our military gives each fallen soldier. It also about LtCol Mike Strobl journey and how it changes him. There is not much dialogue here. All is said with images. Kevin Bacon gives a fine performance as LtCol Mike Strobl, and his facial expressions say more then words could have said. One reviewer called this a "Tone poem", and I whole heartedly agree.

On a personal note I found myself a bit emotional throughout the film. Why I can't say. Maybe it's in the eyes of my boys that I see this story. War touches us all, and with ever death we are diminished as a society and country. Katz gets it, and he understands it. Even a person like myself who knows nothing of military life. This is a finely crafted piece of filmmaking, and one that is worth seeing. It's currently playing on HBO's on-demand. Do yourself a favor and watch some good filmmaking, and a powerful story unfold. At the end we are even given a glimpse of PFC Phelps as a child growing up. It drives the story home, and makes one appreciate the sacrifice this young man made.

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