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Play The Man
04-19-2010, 01:33 AM
I generally don't like films with a gerund phrase as a title (e.g. Chasing Amy, Being John Malkovitch) - although, there are exceptions, such as Saving Private Ryan. Additionally, I generally don't enjoy the acting of Kevin Bacon. So, before I even watched the film, it had two strikes against it. The film won me over despite my prejudices.

The film is based on a true story about a U.S. Marine Colonel (Kevin Bacon), assigned to a state-side desk job during the deadliest days of the Iraq War, who volunteers to be an official escort for the body of a KIA Marine named Chance Phelps - thus comes the aforementioned title, Taking Chance. Chance is never shown during the film. His death is heard over a walkie-talkie. His presence is limited to his personal effects, a brief shot of mortuary technicians scrubbing his blood-soaked hands, and his coffin. The film follows Chance's journey from its arrival on a cargo airplane in the States until his funeral in Wyoming. During the transport, we see the reaction of everyday Americans as they see the coffin or discover the purpose of Bacon's presence. The tone is one of respect for the military and the sacrifice of Chance. Political statements about the Iraq War are minimal or non-existent. The cinematography was beautiful, showcasing the striking Marine uniforms and the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. It was a sober, poignant film worth seeing. If you rent it, be sure to watch the closing credits for it is then that we finally see Chance . . . as a young boy in home movies. It would be a good idea to have a handkerchief handy.