Cast: Sebastian Stan, Christopher Pummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris
Director: Todd Robinson
I don’t know how Roadside Attractions managed to mess this up, but a movie like The Last Full Measure that has the cast and budget to be successful should’ve been something that did well in a month with very few good options. To lose as much money as they did without a real drop in quality is a shame and shows they needed a better strategy to get it out to audiences. A strong, powerful movie that is just a bit slow for its own good, The Last Full Measure honors those who sacrifice themselves for others in a movie that is both dramatic and somber.
The film follows Scott Huffman (Stan), an employee at the Pentagon who is well on his way to rise through the ranks and end up in a major government position soon. When he is tasked with investigating the merit of William Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine), a deceased Vietnam soldier, by his remaining friends and family. While Scott isn’t thrilled to take on a task he views as remedial and pointless, as he progresses through the task he learns that there’s a lot more to Pitsenbarger’s journey than he realizes and what true sacrifice and selflessness look like. While The Last Full Measure isn’t a traditional war movie and focuses more on the emotional toll that death has on the people involved in conflict, it still manages to have a true impact on those watching it. The protagonist isn’t the most interesting person in the world, but the events surrounding help make the world more important and helps grow and show development along the way. It’s not a movie like 1917 where the emphasis is on the action and timing, this is much of an investigation of events and figuring out the truth of one man’s ultimate sacrifice. Some people may not enjoy this because the details unfold at a relatively slow pace, but performances by actors like Plummer and Samuel L. Jackson keep the film balanced and allow the emotion to flow out freely. January is such a strange time for this movie to be released, especially since it didn’t premiere at a major festival last year, and that may have been its undoing from the beginning. I haven’t seen any of Robinson’s other movies, but this absolutely feels like a passion project for him as he’s been working on the movie for about 20 years, but with that much delay and the amount of people who tried to have influence on this movie may have done it in from the beginning. Fundamentally it’s an interesting story to tell and I’m glad I watched this movie because of the human elements, but at the same time I don’t think there’s one specific part that would appeal to all audiences as a whole. It’s a shame, because there are recognizable names and concepts that could’ve been accessible to more people than those who saw it, but those who did can take away the level of nobility and honor that comes with every performance in this movie.
Overall, The Last Full Measure had all the potential in the world to be something truly great at the beginning of the year, but it’s just a matter of trying to do too much and be too meaningful for its own good. It’s still better than most of the garbage we routinely get in this month. I like it when studios go off the grid a bit and try something different, but when they don’t fully commit, you end up with the half measure that is The Last Full Measure.
Overall Score: 6.5/10