Last night, I watched the HBO Film Taking Chance and cried like a baby. A big, man-baby, mind you, but make no mistake – weeping occurred. Seriously, it was like I had watched a marathon of Where The Red Fern Grows, The Yearling, Old Yeller, and Brian’s Song back-to-back without so much as a bathroom break. But I didn’t. I watched a little 78-minute movie that wore me out.
Based on actual events, Taking Chance tells the story of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl’s journey escorting the remains of fallen marine Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps. Phelps, 19-years old at the time of his death, died fighting in Iraq. Strangely enough, the movie isn’t about the Iraq war – though there are those that will tell you it is.
No, the movie is about respect for our war dead regardless of political perspective.
Taking Chance is a beautiful film about the dignity and reverence held for those who render the greatest sacrifice in service to country. We are shown the military’s deep commitment in caring for the fallen service-man as well as those who survive. Additonally, we experience the civillian response… The moment of silence observed by the men loading the remains onto the plane, the passengers maintaining a silent witness as the remains are unloaded, and all the while a lone marine rendering honors.
It’s a simple movie with powerfully understated direction.
Taking Chance has been running on HBO since late February and continues to air throughout the month of March.