There are movies based on the war theme, while others are “anti-war.” Some celebrate nationhood, while others are not all about that. These days movies not only portray battles but also show the things behind the curtain. The Last Full Measure is a flick that falls somewhere in between these two extremities.
It is a movie based on real-life incidents that depict the story of the Vietnam War hero William H. Pitsenbarger. He was one of the US Air Force Pararescuemen, also known as PJ, who saved many wounded soldiers; the exact number is not known, but he saved over 60 men.
The Last Full Measure does talk about courage, honor, bravery, sacrifice, and, most importantly, service to the country during wartime. But, somehow, the primary focus of the movie is not on taking lives and, surprisingly, not saving them too.
The antagonist, singular, and plural are both shown to be intelligent and smart, but they are not portrayed as the main enemy. The villain in the movie is, in fact, the dangerous and uncertain situation that the young men are sent.
The director, Todd Robinson, evoked not only some marvelous and astonishing dramatic scenes but also assembled some of the best older actors in the industry – William Hurt, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Plummer, Ed Harris, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, and the late Peter Fonda.
Robinson handled the first half with great care that showed his skills, but was unable to maintain the same tempo for the second half; he warps and amps the struggle to get Pitsenbarger the Medal of Honour, the highest award for gallantry in war. All in all, Robinson’s attempt is sincere and honest, and the movie is worth watching.
The film starts with an ongoing rescue mission during the US-Vietnam War, on April 11th, 1966 where Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) is offered the chance to escape out of the combat zone, heavily under fire. Still, he stays behind to help his fellow wounded soldiers and makes the ultimate sacrifice.
Thirty-two years later, Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan), a Pentagon staffer, is tasked with investigating a Congressional Medal of Honour request for Pitsenbarger made by his best friend (William Hurt). But instead, he uncovers a high-level conspiracy.
The film was released on January 31st, 2020.