Written by Ross Katz and Michael Strobl. Directed by Ross Katz. Starring Kevin Bacon and Blanche Baker. HBO Films. February 2009.
Hollywood illustrates some military stories distastefully, particularly when politics leaves veracity open to debate. HBO's Taking Chance, a tale of devotion to fallen warriors, is not one of them. This honorable, poignant, and dignified rendering of Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl's escort of a Marine slain in Iraq pays tribute not only to those who have died in battle, but also to all who bear witness to their final journey home.
It's usually the duty of the casualty assistance calls officer to come face-to-face with a grieving parent and attempt simultaneously to explain death and honor life on a grateful nation's behalf. In 2004, Lieutenant Colonel Strobl (played by Kevin Bacon) paused from churning out personnel reports at Quantico and volunteered to shoulder a portion of that burden himself. As depicted by Mr. Bacon, Strobl is guilt-stricken that he is neither in the fight nor doing a greater part to support Marines in harm's way.