Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne could well have teamed up for a convention on-the-road, mismatched buddy comedy – moments in this official trailer from Amazon Studios certainly suggest the trio has the right stuff for it. But judging from what we see here, Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying aims deeper. Way deeper.
“You sent him off to a godforsaken desert,” Carell’s Richard “Doc” Shepherd tells a military officer as the casket holding Shepherd’s son is about to be buried at Arlington Cemetery. “Why? I’m taking Larry home.”
So begins the road trip, as the three Vietnam vets (Carell, Cranston and Fishburne) reunite after a long separation to transport Doc’s son home to a cemetery in New Hampshire.
If that description sounds overly grim – The Last Detail with grief – this well-made trailer does a fine job conveying a bittersweet humor that more than once scores genuine laughs. Told by an Marine official that the men are cutting off their noses to spite their faces, Cranston cracks, “Did you look at these faces? They’ve already been spited.”
Linklater and author Darryl Ponicsan collaborated on the screenplay, based on Ponicsan’s novel – which is, indeed, a sequel to his The Last Detail, which Robert Towne adapted for Hal Ashby’s great 1973 comedy-drama starring Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid and Otis Young.
Last Flag Flying will world premiere September 28 at the New York Film Festival, then open in select theaters November 3.
Watch the trailer above. And note the second appearance of a classic tune from the early ’70s singer-songwriter era in as many weeks: Neil Young’s Old Man, coming while trailers for The Only Living Boy in New York, featuring Simon & Garfunkel’s title tune, are still popping up on TV.