Over the past year, we saw a handful of great war movies reach theatres, including the Best Picture nominee 1917. The new decade continues that trend with the release of Todd Robinson's THE LAST FULL MEASURE, a true-life drama that focuses on the Vietnam War and the heroic efforts of Air Force medic William Pitsenbarger.
For the role, Robinson cast actor Jeremy Irvine, who got his big break in another war movie, Steven Spielberg's WAR HORSE. However, for the other characters — who lead the story 30 years after Pitsenbarger's death — Robinson tapped a few stars that audiences typically associate with other movie genres or types of roles.
Sebastian Stan pivots from superhero to real-life hero as Department of Defense attorney Scott Huffman. When he is first approached with the request to award the Medal of Honor to the fallen William Pitsenbarger, Huffman is dismissive and detached. But as he interviews the surviving soldiers, he begins to understand the importance of the recognition not only for Pitsenbarger and his family, but also every man he saved during Operation Abilene.
Speaking of family, Christopher Plummer — known for countless hit films, including the recent whodunit KNIVES OUT — plays William Pitsenbarger's father, Frank, who helps lead the charge to get his son the military's highest honor for his courageous actions. As Frank, Plummer is soft and emotional, a welcomed contrast to the other characters, who carry anger and guilt about their own actions during the battle.
Another Marvel Cinematic Universe regular, William Hurt plays master sergeant Tulley, the veteran who meets with Scott Huffman about the posthumous Medal of Honor request. Though he keeps a tough exterior for the majority of the movie, Tulley eventually opens up to Huffman about why he is fighting so hard on behalf of his deceased friend, and Hurt carries the moment with raw sincerity and vulnerability.
As a co-star in dramas like THE HOURS and APOLLO 13, Ed Harris is no stranger to serious material or movies based on true stories, and he taps his experience to play Ray Mott, a Vietnam vet who fought in Operation Abilene alongside William Pitsenbarger. Like Tulley, Mott seems hardened and closed off when he first meets Huffman, but we see his walls come down as he reveals he's been holding onto the last letter from Pitsenbarger to the woman he loved.
Samuel L. Jackson
An actor known for his F bombs as much as his film credits, Samuel L. Jackson is the most surprising star in THE LAST FULL MEASURE. While we've come to known him as a badass in movies like PULP FICTION and the Marvel franchise, Jackson is tortured as Takoda, who blames himself for not only William Pitsenbarger's death, but also the deaths of many of his fellow soldiers. Granted, he's still a tough guy, Jackson best portrays how war can affect a person for the rest of their lives.
THE LAST FULL MEASURE is playing now at an AMC near you.