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UK title: The Last Job
Review by Rich Cline |
dir-scr Adam Lipsius
prd Adam Lipsius, Kris Wynne
with Richard Dreyfuss, Mira Sorvino, Pruitt Taylor Vince, DW Moffett, Cress Williams, Alejandra Rivera Flavia, Aiden Malik, Megan McFarland, Joanna Walchuk, David Steven Perez, Andrea Frankle, Tye Claybrook Jr
release US 13.Aug.21,
Is it streaming?
Based on a true story, this stylish film is beefy enough to hold the attention, even if the story feels naggingly formulaic. Writer-director Adam Lipsius strains to create a noir vibe with a growly voiceover and emotionally charged conversations. But the script takes a flatly simplistic approach to a narrative that's actually full of intriguing angles. So aside from some strong character beats, the movie feels melodramatic and contrived.
In 2016 Georgia, bar owner Ben (Dreyfuss) has renounced his past as a crime boss and gone legit. And now he's losing his battle with cancer, while his wife (McFarland) is in the grip of dementia. His detective daughter Nick (Sorvino) comes to him for help caring for older daughter Sherry (Walchuk), who's also dying and needs someone to take care of her sons. Then when thieves ransack Ben's house, he violently goes after them himself, feeling like he has nothing left to lose. But there are other factors here that he doesn't know about.
The voiceover does a lot of heavy lifting, attempting to make sense of scenes that are frustratingly incomplete. But this makes everything feel corny, highlighting the awkward direction and editing. Throw in flashbacks of a teen girl (Flavia) who became pregnant by a congressman (Moffett), a sideroad that feels diverted to intersect with the main plot. Much more involving are the film's relational aspects, and they provide some interest even if as story itself becomes less than gripping.
The ace cast is oddly muted by the basic dialog and situations. Dreyfuss has a nice matter-of-fact approach to Ben, a man who has seen it all and is no longer going to take nonsense from anyone. His most interesting connection is actually with the terrific Vince, as Ben's befuddled assistant Tommy. And he makes Ben's concern for his wife genuinely touching. Meanwhile in a rather blandly written role, Sorvino adds some high-powered energy as the in-control Nick, who seems to be juggling several things in the background.
There are some nice moments along the way that dig beneath the surface, such as when Nick confronts Ben about what he's trying to do, and he recalls a past when nothing happened in town without his knowledge. So it's not particularly surprising when the plot takes some major twists that are carefully orchestrated but arrive without meaningful context. And this is a big problem, because it scuppers the rather insane attempt to ramp up suspense for what should be a dark and tense final act.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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