Dir. Ross Katz. USA. 2009.

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Featuring a Golden Globe winning performance by Kevin Bacon, this is the story of Lt. Col. Michael Strobl who has the honour of escorting a killed marine (KIA) back to his family home for the funeral; on this occasion he is escorting the body of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps across America.
Based upon the events relayed in Strobl's journal it sees us meet Strobl a 17 year veteran who growing disillusioned with his part in this new war, is looking for a way to help and feel part of the effort.  He volunteers for escort service knowing that a body may be coming back home to Colorado, unbeknown to Strobl the family want him returned to Wyoming.  So Strobl must undertake numerous plane journeys and car trips to his and Chance's final destination.
As it is the first time Strobl has done this service, Bacon brings this feeling of being moved by the feelings and emotions of normal civilians to Chance's return.  From pilots to passengers, there is this outpouring of emotion from those who are not even politically motivated.  As one voice says, ' I don't know what we are doing over there', nevertheless when a young man is killed you cannot help but feel for the families, and the film makes that point clearly and simply to all.
There is a smoothness of the production and a sharpness of the economic efficiency in this dramatisation of an event that takes place daily across American land.  The cinematography of the landscape makes America a character. 
Katz produced 'Lost in Translation' and his depiction of Strobl first seeing the body of Chance in his casket is quite moving as Bacon and his colleague, Major Thompson (Brendan Griffin) both try to hold back the tears, make small talk and then Bacon eventually opens the floodgates.
Honest in its endeavours, true to the message of the film and a fine companion piece to 'The Messenger' a feature release starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster.
Taking Chance is out now on DVD from HBO Home Entertainment.
Jamie Garwood

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