Taking Chance

Taking Chance


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

It's 2004. Lt Colonel Mike Strobl (Kevin Bacon), having compiled endless statistics of fatalities among US troops, elects to involve himself more intimately in their fates and volunteers to escort the remains of one particular soldier back to his family in Wyoming. Strobl, himself, although having obtained prestigious rank, has not seen action since the original Desert Storm Operation and has his own doubts about making a connection with those giving their lives in the current Iraq conflict.

The film depicts a meeting of two worlds, with the military on one side giving as much dignity as possible to the process in juxtaposition with real world practicality of actually shipping such an item and along the way assorted reactions from the public ranging from officious and perplexed to extreme pride.

Talk about emotional baggage. At times extraordinarily moving, the film ultimately fails to allow the audience to connect to either the fallen marine or Strobl himself and stands as a strange record of a procedure. If you've ever had to arrange a funeral you'll understand something of the bizarre conflicts of emotions and business involved.

Strobl is played with majesty by Kevin Bacon, but remains a cipher despite a 12th-hour confession to a Korean War Veteran.

This film is difficult to comment on, as any opinion will be coloured by one's own impressions of the conflict and the sacrifice of human life entailed, especially as all the characters are based on real people and for one family there is true loss and heartache. For my own part, it touched a deep down anger with the whole thing, but I could equally see it stirring you to patriotic fervour.

Reviewed on: 17 Jan 2009
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Marine officer escorts fallen comrade back from Iraq.

Director: Ross Katz

Writer: Ross Katz, Michael Strobl

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Blanche Baker

Year: 2009

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: US


Sundance 2009

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