(US - 2020)
Written and directed by Todd Robinson. Cast: Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Peter Fonda, LisaGay Hamilton, Jeremy Irvine, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Linus Roache, John Savage, Alison Sudol, Bradley Whitford, Dale Dye, Ser'Darius Blain, Zachary Roerig, Cody Walker, James Jagger, Richard Cawthorne, Ethan Russell, Bruce MacVittie, Asher Miles Fallica, Travis Aaron Wade, Rachel Harker. (R, 116 mins)
An extremely earnest and well-meaning chronicle of the efforts to award a posthumous Medal of Honor to a fallen Vietnam War hero, THE LAST FULL MEASURE wears its heart on its sleeve and you can't fault the nobility of its intentions. Jumping between 1999 and flashbacks to the botched Operation Abilene in the ill-fated 1966 Battle of Xa Cam My on a rubber plantation roughly 30 klicks outside of Saigon, the film doesn't shy away from a deep dive into hagiography in the story of Air Force pararescueman William "Pits" Pitsenbarger (played here by Jeremy Irvine), a Piqua, OH native who was killed in action on April 11, 1966 while treating and rescuing 60 Army infantrymen, then refusing evacuation and staying behind to help the unit defend their position against VC snipers. Because it was an Army operation, the request for a Medal of Honor citation was denied and Pitsenbarger was instead awarded the Air Force Cross. But the men saved by Pitsenbarger, along with retired Air Force Sgt. and fellow pararescueman Tom Tulley (William Hurt) have never given up the fight for his heroism to be properly recognized. The MOH inquiry lands in the lap of ambitious (and, like almost everyone else here, fictional) mid-level Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan), who has loftier goals than sifting through boring paperwork for info about a 33-year-old battle that nobody remembers, and he's practically encouraged by his smarmy boss Carlton Stanton (Bradley Whitford, cast radically against type as "Bradley Whitford") to blow it off and bide his time before pawning it off on someone else.
|Peter Fonda (1940-2019)