"Taking Chance" is the remarkable true story of one soldier's death in battle, another soldier's journey of discovery and a nation's reverence and gratitude toward its war dead. After hearing of the heroic death of a young Marine in Iraq, veteran officer Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon) volunteers to escort the remains of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps back to his hometown in Wyoming. Now, on a trip across America's heartland, Strobl will find himself on an unexpectedly emotional sojourn into the soul of a country mourning not only Phelps, but all of our country's fallen heroes.
Just when you thought that the airport is a place where things are always happy, this movie shatters that image. Just when you think that the airport is a place where you see your loved ones off, or welcome them back home, this movie shatters that image. In this Ross Katz directed picture, the airport is a backdrop for a soldier who is returning home from his military duties. The only problem is, he is dead.
Based on real life events, the protagonist is Lt. Col. Mike Strobl, who has volunteered to escort PFC. Chance Phelps, who has been killed at the tender age of 19. On the journey home, person after person pay respects, shower small gifts, small gifts and condolences to the dead soldier. What does this mean for the veteran soldier? What will the high ranking military officer discover on this soul searching trip to bring a dead son back home to his family?
A war drama based on real life events always work for movie adaptations. Half the battle is already won engaging the emotions of the characters in the story. In this particular case, the overarching depression will seep into your every pore, and if you don’t feel a thing for the plot, you’d be one heartless person. In fact, the emotional power is so overwhelming; the rather brief 79 minute runtime seems like a drawn process, simply because there is an uncomfortable overbearing presence. Kevin Bacon’s presence is felt as the tortured officer who has taken on the duty of sending a deceased soldier back home. Several key scenes at the airport are guaranteed tear inducers, and whether you are of the male or female species, you’d be sniffing quite a bit.
Presented as a television movie in the United States, this picture boasts of superb production values. No considerations were made to compromise the quality of the production, and that is proved by the numerous Emmy Primtetime nominations it garnered (it took home the trophy for “Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie”). The art direction fits aptly for the movie, bringing somberness to the picture, and in turn moving viewers with its authentic and powerfully stirring storytelling. This especially works when you know that what you have just watched on screen happened in real life. This will make you think about what you would have felt or done when put in the shoes of the protagonist. And that alone, makes this recommended movie a must watch.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains a quite a bit of extra features to have audiences better understand the real life events that took place. Bearing Witness is a 23 minute featurette which shows you who the real Lt. Col. Michael Strobl is. The deceased soldier’s family and friends are also interviewed – get your tissues ready. The Real Chance Phelps makes you even sadder with its insights of what kind of person the dead hero is. In six minutes, you will get to see interviews with more of his loved ones, and the obligatory home videos which will make you shed a tear or two. In the five minute From Script to Screen, you’ll get to see Bacon talking about how he took up the role of the high ranking soldier whose life is changed forever by sending Phelps home. Included is also a two minute Deleted Scene and a short promo clip Learn More About Fisher House which serves military families.
The disc’s visual transfer complements the nostalgic 1970s feel, and there are English, Japanese or Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks for you to choose from.
by John Li
Posted on 12 October 2009