Following the career of Richard Linklater can give you the best kind of creative whiplash. He went from the aging romance of Before Midnight to the coming-of-age epic Boyhood, to the college bro comedy Everybody Wants Some!! Linklater’s next movie sounds like yet another departure, another major shift in subject and tone, back to more serious material. It’s called Last Flag Flying, and it was announced today it will premiere as the Opening Night Film of the 2017 New York Film Festival.

Here’s the movie’s official plot synopsis:

In Richard Linklater’s lyrical road movie, as funny as it is heartbreaking, three aging Vietnam-era Navy vets—soft-spoken Doc (Steve Carell), unhinged and unfiltered Sal (Bryan Cranston), and quietly measured Mueller (Laurence Fishburne)—reunite to perform a sacred task: the proper burial of Doc’s only child, who has been killed in the early days of the Iraqi Invasion. As this trio of old friends makes its way up the Eastern seaboard, Linklater gives us a rich rendering of friendship, a grand mosaic of common life in the USA during the Bush era, and a striking meditation on the passage of time and the nature of truth. To put it simply, Last Flag Flying is a great movie from one of America’s finest filmmakers.

Even with the serious subject matter, there are connections to be made to all those past movies; the effects of aging on relationships from Before Midnight, the passage of time from Boyhood, the way men relate to one another from Everybody Wants Some!! That’s part Linklater’s genius; every movie is different, but they all fit together. This year’s New York Film Festival begins on September 28.

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