By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
Published: February 14, 2009
In an HBO movie that has its premiere on Saturday, Kevin Bacon, playing the part of Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, escorts the body of Chance Phelps, 19, a fellow Marine killed in Iraq, home to his parents in Wyoming. There’s no real plot; the linear narrative follows Colonel Strobl through his solemn rituals, often including a slow ceremonial salute, as he watches over Private Phelps (later Lance Corporal Phelps). The body is moved in a shipping container through various airports, from cargo hold to cargo hold, on its long last journey.
HBO promotes the movie, “Taking Chance,” based on Colonel Strobl’s true account, as “nonpolitical.” But it arrives in a highly political context and at an acutely political moment.
Just last week, President Obama was asked at a news conference if he would allow coverage of the flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware “so the American people can see the full human cost of war.”