Honor. Courage. Commitment.
I have trouble finding the words to express my humbled feelings for the reverent and sensitive Taking Chance…and more importantly Lance Corporal Chance Phelps.
Based on a true story, Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, a volunteer military escort officer, accompanies the body of 19-year-old Marine Chance Phelps back to his hometown of Dubois, Wyoming. The movie is directed by Ross Katz (Oscar nominated producer for In the Bedroom and Lost in Translation) and written by Lt. Col. Michael Strobl and Ross Katz. The film stars Kevin Bacon as Strobl, with Tom Aldredge, Blanche Baker, Guy Boyd, James Castanien, and others. This film was not a theatrical release, but a made for television movie on HBO. Running Time: 77 minutes. Not Rated.
The premise of Taking Chance is a very, very simple one: a Marine is taking one of his brother’s home. The story is a road-trip movie without the random troubles on the road, the whimsical love interest, the cops hot on our heroes’ tails–instead we are presented with a direct, honest, and respectful portrayal of an officer escorting a young Marine home to his resting place.
It is perhaps one of the most respectful stories captured on film–about the Marines, that is. I covet the Corps’ values of honor, courage, and commitment. And this film manages to somehow mention or address each of these values in one form or another. We are presented with a gentleman (Bacon) who decides to take a 20-year-old warrior to Wyoming. Along the way he is shown–if not reminded–how many Americans honor our fallen heroes. They prove it one way or another. To a fella like me, I am touched by these gestures, even if it is a movie.
For some years, I have been iffy about Kevin Bacon. However, after performances in movies like Sleepers, Mystic River, The Woodsman, and especially this…I can salute him for his performance. He paints a realistic picture of a Lieutenant Colonel with–again–honor and respect. It seems to be a trend the filmmakers kept throughout this film…honor and respect.
Fun fact: This is one of several movies from HBO Films, like “Bernard and Doris” and Kenneth Branagh’s “As You Like It”, that ended up bypassing movie theaters in the U.S. and went straight to HBO, even though it was intended to be distributed in theaters nationwide.
Already, I am running out of things to praise this movie for because it’s short. Too short, actually. I want some more.
But all in all, I highly, highly recommend this to enlisted, commissioned, retired, veterans–all past or present service members, whether you be in the Marines, Navy, Air Force–whomever! This is a film that honors all service members. And I encourage you to watch it. And sans the politic jargon, it makes me proud to be an American.