10 March 2010

Taking Chance

I have a soft spot for the Armed Forces. My best friend of over 20 years is in the Army. My Best Man was in the Navy, now he is in the Marines. My cousin is in the National Guard and he did a tour in Iraq. I have lost a classmate in Iraq as well.

So, when I saw the preview for this TV movie, I wished I had HBO. After Kevin Bacon won the Golden Globe for his performance, I moved it to the top of my Blockbuster Online queue. Last night, I sat down to watch it.

We follow the true story of Lt. Col. Michael Stobl, played by Kevin Bacon, as he is the military escort for a fallen Marine. The Marine is Private First Class Chance Phelps. Stobl escorts him on his journey to his final resting place in Wyoming. Stobl felt connected to the Marine because they are from the same hometown. It turns out that he joined up in the same town, but he grew up in Wyoming.

Lt. Col. Stobl was an office worker who analyzes manpower for the military. He has a wife and two kids. He chose not to go to Iraq with Operation: Iraqi Freedom. He felt like less of a soldier even though he was a veteran of Desert Storm. This leads him to make his decision.

Taking Chance was an emotionally moving film. From the time Stobl leaves on his journey, he and Phelps are shown great respect all the way to Wyoming. I hate to admit it, but it made my cry so many times at so many scenes that I felt a little less masculine. One other interesting aspect was that we see the crew of people who prepare the bodies of the fallen. It was a very touching aspect that I was unaware of. I do not know how these people can do what they do.

Kevin Bacon was moving in this performance. He had very few lines, but he made the most of what he had. His actions and reactions to others also helped make the film emotional and moving. The direction and writing were superb. They use of cut scenes of the cleaning and the personal effects also helped set the mood. It is almost sad that this was not released in theaters.

Verdict: I loved this touching film. I thank soldiers when I see them on the street, at restaurants, at hotels, etc. This film showed people thanking and going out of their way to help Stobl get Chance Phelps to his grave sight. I highly recommend this movie to anyone that knows a member of the Armed Forces, especially to anyone who has lost someone. I enjoyed the fact that there was no political influence in the film. This was worth the rent, now I am looking to purchase it. It was the most emotional 77 minute movie I have ever seen. Also, look for Tom Wopat at the end.

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