'The Last Full Measure' - Movie Review

I've always been wary of the expression "inspired by true events" in the lead-up to a movie. In this case, I knew going in that this was, how can I say - embellished, but accurate enough in spirit. William H. Pitsenbarger was real (Wikipedia), and after a particularly conspicuous act of bravery during the Vietnam War (which lost him his life) he was put up for the Medal of Honor. The award was downgraded to an Air Force Cross. He was finally awarded the Medal of Honor 35 years later.

This movie is a dramatization of the process to get that honour for Pitzenbarger, with Sebastian Stan playing Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman, tasked with reviewing the potential medal upgrade. He's initially totally disinterested in the process, but encounters with Pitsenbarger's parents and the survivors of the battle eventually get through to him.

We kept flashing back to the day in question during the Vietnam War, which is fair enough. But I found it very hard to track which young guy is supposed to match which old guy: the young actors didn't look like the old actors, and for a movie that was distinctly heavy-handed about some issues, it was pretty light on guidance associating old guy/young guy.

We don't learn much about Pitsenbarger himself - except possibly the most important thing. He was an Air Force Pararesueman who chose to stay on the ground, where he shouldn't even have been, to rescue and fight with Army men he didn't know, even knowing what it might cost him.

William Hurt and Ed Harris were typically very good. Sam Jackson ... well, he was Sam Jackson. And I'm not a huge fan of Christopher Plummer, although he was fairly good here. Stan in the lead was decent but not outstanding. It's a tale of extraordinary bravery that could have done with better selected staff and a slightly less melodramatic script. I watched this because I loved "Hacksaw Ridge" (also a biographical movie about a medic in wartime who won the Medal of Honor) - ultimately, that one is better written and better put together.