3 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 17 minutes
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A nine-year-old girl faces a vividly imagined version of her deceased father in the haunting short “The Last Full Measure”. Somah Haaland is stunning as young Catherine, a child whose innocence has been forever shattered by the loss of her father and her mother’s apparent indifference. As she waits for her family to gather for an unspecified occasion, Catherine tenderly approaches her father (played with great humanity by Xander Berkley), who appears perfectly real to her. Though the two share playful musings and sweet father-daughter moments, there is clearly something off about the man. Apparently a veteran of some unknown war in some unknown time, her father appears badly shell-shocked, so much so that he can barely even shave. Meanwhile, Catherine’s mother acts like everything is fine as she prepares for her guests and casually accepts the flirtations of Uncle George (Daniel Stern!). (Whether this is merely innocent or a sign of some greater transgression is never discussed, but we draw our own conclusions, don’t we.) It’s not until the short’s very end that we finally realize why Catherine’s father had been acting so strangely and been largely ignored by everyone except Catherine: he never survived the war. With assured direction by Alexandra Kerry and solid acting all around, in particular by young Haaland, “The Last Full Measure” is ultimately an accomplished effort.

Posted on January 27, 2005 in Reviews by

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