Review: ‘The Last Full Measure’ Starring Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, And Samuel L. Jackson

The Last Full Measure is a sobering tale of the heroic acts of William H. Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force Para Rescueman who saved over 60 men of the U.S. Army first infantry division on April 11th, 1966. William H. Pistenbarger sadly died that day. This movie is about the journey to get him a posthumous Medal of Honor. Sebastian Stan plays Scott Huffman, a Department of Defense staffer who ends up getting the job of researching him after one of his fellow Pararescuemen talks to the secretary of the U.S. Air Force. A lot of the movie is following Huffman as he talks to the men that Pitsenbarger saved that day about his efforts. This where we get to see the real performances from Samuel L. Jackson, William Hurt, Ed Harris and Peter Fonda. Stan does well to hold his own with these great older actors – playing a more naïve man who doesn’t quite understand the sacrifices these men made. This film allows these actors who often play very strong and stoic men, to play with emotion and regret.

The way the film looks isn’t that impressive but the director, Todd Robinson, pulls off some good battle scenes. The visual feeling of this movie gives off CBS Sunday Night movie vibes. A lot of the visual framing doesn’t feel vast enough to feel cinematic and more like something that would be better seen on television. None of this effects the feeling of the story, it’s very heartfelt and brings you into Huffman’s journey to know about this man and his heroism and how this man’s activities have affected so many other people and his family. Bradley Whitford is also stars, playing the devil on Huffman’s shoulder telling him that he should just think about himself and his career advancement. He feels like a polar opposite of his character in The West Wing which is probably on purpose. Gotta get that meta working your minds while we watch these movies.

Overall is this a movie you should see? I’d think so and I think a lot of people who might not be that familiar with the events of the Vietnam War and the many lives it’s affected. Over the years, as it gets further and further away, and the men who fought in it get older and older the freshness of that pain fades, but shouldn’t be forgotten. This film might also help give context to what’s going on with current men and women serving and recent vets who’ve fought in the constant wars in the middle east, that have been going on for 20 continuous years. There is a need to shine a light on what men who fought in these wars been through and how it’s traumatized their psyche. This film does a great job of doing this. It can bring about empathy and reflection so that overcomes many of the shortcomings that film has in its craft.

3 out of 5