...the film (like Ponicsan’s novel [on which it was based] sharply pulls its punches. Given the scale of the crimes involved, millions dead in Vietnam, millions more in the Middle East, the threat of even more horrifying wars… Last Flag Flying hardly begins to come to terms with things. It’s not much more than a mild rebuke.In my opinion David Walsh is the best American film reviewer by far, and he certainly demonstrates his skill and moral conscience in this review. I was sad to learn that the film, which Walsh faulted for its obvious suppression of dissent about two of our many wars, was directed by Richard Linklater whose films I've often admired.
Too many elements undermine what could have been a much stronger, fiercer work.
It's clear in the present ideological environment that no one could make a stronger anti-war film that exposed the lies of our ruling class's government. Thus, the film serves as another illustration of the role that Hollywood plays to sell supportive ideological propaganda to brainwash the American people. As Walsh suggests, the ideological climate today is much worse than it was in the early 1970s--which was far from good.
To oppose that [US military establishment] consciously and resolutely, to suggest that the US military is not, in the end, an “honorable” and “patriotic” institution, but a sinister and murderous one, will bring down upon the filmmaker denunciations and threaten his or her career, perhaps his or her life.