The Last Full Measure is now in theaters.
By Elazar Abrahams
Call it cliche-ridden if you’d like, but The Last Full Measure is a true story. During the Vietnam War, William H. Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force Pararescueman, personally saved over sixty men. During a rescue mission in 1966, he was offered the chance to escape on the last helicopter out of a combat zone heavily under fire, but he stayed behind to save and defend the lives of soldiers, before making the ultimate sacrifice in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Thirty-two years later, Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (played here by Sebastian Stan) is tasked with investigating a Medal of Honor request for Pitsenbarger made by his best friend and PJ partner on the mission and his parents. He uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the decades-long denial of the medal, prompting him to put his own career on the line to seek justice for the fallen airman.
After so many years as a cog inside the Marvel machine, it’s refreshing to see Sebastian Stan play someone besides the Winter Soldier. And turns out, he’s a damn good actor too. As a lacky in the Department of Defense, he anchors the film. Collecting evidence and testimony of Pitsenbarger’s heroism sends him on something of a road trip. On his stops, we get treated to a killer cast, including legends Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, and Peter Fonda in his last film role. All the men do a great job. Instead of phoning it in for a paycheck, they really show us what veterans suffer with after returning home. Bradley Whitford also has a small role, which was fun to see.
The script here is great, and the story is extremely moving. The movie is about a half-hour too long; it noticeably drags in the middle. But overall, I really enjoyed it. I would never claim this movie demands a spot on your watchlist, but if you’re into war movies or simply a patriotic American, check this one out.
I give The Last Full Measure a B.