Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying is the type of film that I fear people will walk away from asking, “So what?”
It’s a subtle, quiet, intimate character study, one that bears Linklater’s disinterest in the sort of conventional plotting that tends to engage audiences.
Since my mom self-admittedly fits all the generalizations above, she asked for a kind of primer that would help her most enjoy the experience. Below is what I texted her; hopefully some of you find it useful as well:
Read my Ashby piece again. Last Flag Flying is Linklater wrestling with how to make an Ashby-style film in 2017. He understands — like I write in the piece — how far cinema has moved away from Ashby’s sensibilities. Can you still make a movie that’s ENTIRELY character driven, with basically no attention paid to plot? How does every scene build and develop the characters, not in conventional ways but in ways that cinematically dramatize reality? And note the subtlety of the sociopolitical conversations. They almost never talk about politics directly; instead, those subjects are touched upon in, or sometimes even reflected by, their everyday conversations. This approach to sociopolitical resonance is so far removed from the polemical political movies of today, but so true to the daily discourse of ordinary citizens.