THE LAST FULL MEASURE is a movie that is based on true events and tells the story of American serviceman that was forgotten. William H. Pitsenbarger was a United States Air Force Pararescue Jumper who served as a medic in the Vietnam War.  In the April of 1966, he entered a battle area and stayed with injured men, tending to them and awaiting their evacuation from the area by helicopter. After a furious onslaught from the Viet Cong the last helicopter was forced to leave for fear of it being hit. Airman Pitsenbarger chose to stay with the wounded infantrymen and continued to help fight off overwhelming Viet Cong troops. He stood steadfast even after being wounded several times himself, he continued to treat others in any way he could as well as distributing ammunition to those who could still resist before ultimately losing his life. The battle was one of the fiercest of the war with American forces taking heavy losses, but because of the actions Pitsenbarger took and his courageous acts at least 9 men were able to return home alive.

For his bravery and selfless initiative, Pitsenbarger was awarded the Air Force Cross. The film follows the efforts of the men he saved, his parents, andan initially reluctant Department of Defence staff member Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan) to see him recognized with the Medal of Honour. The movie is a moving and emotional watch and contains a score by composer Philip Klein. There is a sound and style to the opening track that can be likened to composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Richard Stone when he scored the movie MEDAL OF HONOUR back in the 1990’s.  The opening cue, is filled with a proud and highly emotive air, and evoked for me shades of both SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, the composer utilises a slightly subdued trumpet solo, which sets the scene perfectly for much of the score that follows, although this is not your normal martial sounding march totting war movie score, there is far more depth and emotion to Klein’s music. It actually takes on the persona of the American troops and enhances their story and also gives the storyline a greater atmosphere and poignancy. There are some touching and fragile sounding moments within the work, where Klein utilises both piano, solo violin and sombre and melancholy sounding woods, which manifest within the cue I KNEW WHAT HE WAS THINKING, the violin and piano returning in HE NEVER SAYS ANYTHING and re-kindling the emotions to a greater degree. The composer also employs a rich and vibrant sound in cues such as THESE THINGS WE DO SO OTHERS MAY LIVE, which is the end credits for the movie, strings, brass and shimmering percussive elements are joined by choir to create a highly emotive and affecting sound. The same instrumentation being used in the track THE LAST FULL MEASURE, which is a proud and triumphant sounding piece. This is a score I recommend, seek it out but make sure you have some tissues.   

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