Last Flag Flying

Richard Linklater’s ruminative comedy finds three men accepting that life isn’t quite what it used to be.


Dir Richard Linklater
Prod Ginger Sledge, John Sloss
Scr Richard Linklater, Darryl Ponicsan
With Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne
Sales FilmNation Entertainment

Richard Linklater’s knowing tribute to Hal Ashby’s 1973 classic The Last Detail is both a droll, enjoyably shambolic road movie and a meditation on the futility of war. It’s 2003 and Larry ‘Doc’ Shepherd (Steve Carell) walks into a roadside dive looking for Sal (Bryan Cranston), whom he hasn’t seen since they served in the Vietnam War. A charming loudmouth with a flagrant disregard for authority, Sal is soon enlisted in Doc’s get-the-gang-back-together quest. When they track down Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), they discover he has traded one uniform for another and is now a happily married preacher. The sobering reason for this reunion is revealed when Doc asks for help burying his own son who has returned from Iraq in a casket. Alternately serious and comedic, Linklater’s screenplay was co-written with author Darryl Ponicsan, adapting his 2005 novel – itself a sequel to the book on which Ashby’s film was based. But both the filmmaking and the charismatic cast ensure this film stands very much on its own. Linklater’s ongoing fascination with duration, so materially imbedded in Boyhood, filters through between unspoken lines about the changing nature of warfare, the kind of men these veterans have become and their sense of responsibility to the past.

Clare Stewart

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Richard Linklater, Director; Bryan Cranston, Cast

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.