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First Look: Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell & Laurence Fishburne in ‘Last Flag Flying’

We now have our first official look at Richard Linklater’s new film Last Flag Flying. While it is only June, studios are beginning to kickstart campaigns for their upcoming award season films, with today bringing the first reveal of Linklater’s upcoming comedy drama. The film features an A-list cast that’s led by Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne as a couple of Vietnam Navy vets who reunite to mourn the death of one of their son’s from the early days of the Iraq War.

Linklater’s films always feature strong casts, but this may be the best so far. It will be extremely fun to see these three talents names bounce off each other for 90+ minutes. But with the kind of story it’s telling, I expect to see some serious drama work at play, which is why the studio will be pushing it so hard for awards season.

The first look image also brought the news that it will open the New York Film Festival, an honor that is held by many award driven films of the past, like recent films Gone Girl and Captain Phillips. While it isn’t a guarantee that the film will be a hit, it’s pretty damn close and leaves many of us very hopeful that Linklater has achieved greatness once again. Read the official synopsis below. Last Flag Flying is backed by Amazon Studios and opens in theaters on November 17th, 2017.

In Richard Linklater’s lyrical road movie, as funny as it is heartbreaking, three aging Vietnam-era Navy vets—soft-spoken Doc (Steve Carell), unhinged and unfiltered Sal (Bryan Cranston), and quietly measured Mueller (Laurence Fishburne)—reunite to perform a sacred task: the proper burial of Doc’s only child, who has been killed in the early days of the Iraqi Invasion. As this trio of old friends makes its way up the Eastern seaboard, Linklater gives us a rich rendering of friendship, a grand mosaic of common life in the USA during the Bush era, and a striking meditation on the passage of time and the nature of truth. To put it simply, Last Flag Flying is a great movie from one of America’s finest filmmakers.

NYFF director and selection chair describes the film as “infectiously funny, quietly shattering, celebratory, mournful, meditative, intimate, expansive, vastly entertaining, and all-American in the very best sense,” so in other words, a great Richard Linklater movie. This is one that I found a curious choice of material for Linklter in the wake of Boyhood and his sorely underseen gem Everybody Wants Some!!, but reading this description and the praise by Jones, it’s starting to make sense—this is less a buddy road comedy than a meditation on post-9/11 America.

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