A few weeks ago my family and I watched the film "Taking Chance". This is the review I wrote about it.
Two men, both were soldiers. They journeyed together across the country. One was going home; the other was bringing him there. From HBO Films comes “Taking Chance”, a moving story of honor, heroism and gratitude.
PFC Chance Phelps was a 19 year old Marine fighting in Iraq. Lieutenant Colonel Mike Strobl was a seventeen year member of the Marines on an office tour. When Chance – at one time from Strobl’s hometown – was killed in action, Col. Strobl volunteered to be his escort home.
The film itself is a work of art. Images and music make up the main part of the story-telling; dialogue is kept to a minimum. The directors pulled this technique off very well, creating a splendid visual experience. The first fifteen minutes are nearly silent, the producers instead setting the stage with a few lines of opening dialogue and images.
Watching this story unfold, you cannot help being moved to tears and filled with pride for our servicemen. You wish you could have been there with all the civilians who gave honor to Chance along his way home. In one particularly moving moment, Chance is making the final leg of the journey. The flag-draped coffin is clearly visible in the back of the funeral director’s van. Gradually, the few other vehicles on the highway turn on their lights and form a funeral procession for the fallen soldier.
“Taking Chance” has to be one of the best war films of recent times. The screenplay was written by Col. Strobl – thus the film stays away from added dramatics, adventures and unnecessary subplots that would mar the telling of Strobl’s tale. Instead, the viewer is treated to a simple and beautiful story. A story of honor, dignity, bravery and the gratitude of a nation; story well worth viewing.
“Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn’t know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.” – Lt.Col. Mike Strobl