Monday, February 23, 2009
A different kind of war movie
I watch such a minimal amount of TV that if the tube were liquor I'd probably be called a teetotaler. And if I get to the movies more than twice a year it’s kind of unusual. That said last night I got to see, courtesy of a friend who has HBO and a recorder, a war movie. One thing which I will say upfront is "Taking Chance" is not your typical war flick.
This is a movie that has no political axe to grind. It is neither pro nor anti war. There is no violence (other than to one's emotions), no sex, and no over the top language. The plot is simple and you know how the film is going to end within the first few minutes. It is the story of the last journey home of PFC Chance Phelps USMC to the small town from whence he hailed, to be buried at the gut wrenching age of 19.
Taking Chance is based almost entirely on the written journal of Lt. Colonel Mike Strobl USMC who, for reasons explained in the film, volunteered to serve as the military escort that accompanied Chance home to his family and the soil of his native Wyoming. This is a movie that is about sacrifice and honor, but perhaps most importantly the respect shown by our country from the military to ordinary people all across the land for those who have given everything so that we don't have to. It is one of the most sobering movies I have seen in years. I was warned in advance that the film was likely to be emotional. But being most decidedly not the touchy feely type I was unconcerned. (It was purely coincidence that my allergies chose that period of time to shift into high gear and irritate my eyes to the point where I found it necessary to keep a box of tissues next to me throughout the film.)
I can not recommend this movie too highly and I respectfully ask fellow bloggers to bump it. Chance Phelps was killed in action on Good Friday (western calendar) 2004. He was posthumously promoted to Lance Corporal and awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in battle. May his memory and that of all those who have given their lives for our country be eternal!