Sunday, April 25, 2010

'Taking Chance' based on true events

(Published April 21, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Somber and moving, the HBO original movie “Taking Chance” is based on actual events and stars Kevin Bacon as Lt. Col. Michael Strobl. Bacon recently won a Golden Globe (Best Actor in a Miniseries) for the portrayal of the marine who documents events in his journal while transporting the body of a young recruit to his hometown.

Tasked with accompanying the casket containing Chance Phelps, a 19-year-old killed in Iraq, Strobl witnesses overwhelming displays of respect from Americans back home.

“Taking Chance” illustrates the universality of appreciation; the solidarity of diverse people in quiet recognition is almost surreal. The people Strobl meets along the way may not belong to the same political affiliation, or share the same religious beliefs, but in their own ways, they mourn and contemplate such an unnecessary loss.

“Taking Chance” doesn’t rant about the senselessness of war, but rumination on the tragedy is felt throughout the story.

Young Chance’s time abroad is briefly recounted and summed up by a friend (Enver Gjokaj), giving Strobl—and viewers—a clear idea of who he was.

Strobl’s firsthand experience translates quite clearly; Bacon is subtle as the unflagging officer, warmly welcomed and given much respect for his sacred responsibility. The clean, carefully composed imagery adds a dash of optimism to an otherwise gloomy subject.

“Taking Chance” airs April 23, 10 p.m.; April 24, 6:30 p.m.; and April 25, 4:15 p.m., on HBO Signature.

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