Friday, February 24, 2012

The Last Lullaby

Get out your guns and sleeping pills, we're reviewing The Last Lullaby!
The Last Lullaby is a small indie noir I decided to check out. It's better than I expected, but still not as great as I wanted it to be.

Price(Tom Sizemore) is a retired hitman who's recently been having trouble sleeping. Upon stumbling onto a kidnapping plot(noirs are all about the strange coincidences, man), he meets a business man, Martin(Bill Smitrovich) with a proposition he can't refuse. He decides to take on one more job, for a cool million, to bump off a librarian named Sarah(Sasha Alexander).  But after observing the librarian, he begins to fall for her. Does he complete the job and take the money? Or does he run away with the librarian? What's a hitman to do?

It's pretty easy to see that this is a smaller, low budget film, and it's amazing to see what they did with what they had.  The cast is made up of well known "hey I know that guy from that thing" actors, who all pull their own weight. The action is great and includes a number of exciting sequences, Tom Sizemore is especially badass. But still, I wanted more.

Tom Sizemore steals the show as the quiet badass. You can really get a sense of his brooding and tired spirit, but still completely badass. The best parts are where he's gunning down guys and beating up thugs!  He doesn't have a lot of lines, but he speaks louder with his actions.  The rest of the cast handle their parts well, especially Alxander and Smitovich.

The problem I have is with the noir story. For one thing I feel like the whole "badass who falls in love with his target" plot is already played out, and they didn't really add anything new to it. More than that, I didn't really get why he fell in love with her, or why he was so intrigued by her. And obviously in this kind of movie he's going to pick the girl, but there wasn't really any struggle between her and the money(though I didn't really get why he needed the money either). Why is this woman different from any other woman? Why can't he complete his contract? Is he not that man anymore? Does he want to be different? The movie never really gives that much of an explanation, and though I do enjoy the minimal amount of dialogue, maybe in this instance it would have been welcome.

I did however like that there wasn't any really physical interaction between the two lovebirds. No kissing, no sex, barely a hug. It gives the sense that these are both tired people and they're beyond that, they're looking for something more. I liked that, it didn't feel cliche.

The story had a nice bit of intrigue.  There were a few good twists and turns, and it had a nice way of tying everything up nicely at the end. But for me, for a noir movie, the end was too cut and dry. I really wanted one last twist. The very last shot is left to be a semi-ambiguous ending with what they were going to do next, but I wanted more. Either a better explanation of what they were going to do, or a bigger question mark that would have me pondering.

There's one part I wish they had done more with. They both go to a shooting range and Sarah shows that she's actually a pretty good shot. And while it was a nice little turn of her showing how good she is to a professional gunman, they never do anything with her shooting skills through the rest of the movie. It feels like a lost opportunity.

There was nothing really special about cinematography or music, but it wasn't bad.  Again, for what it is, it's a nice little noir story, I just wish there was more to it.

THE GOOD: Great action, Tom Sizemore is a badass and a great actor, nice little intrigue in the story, isn't overtly lovey dovey, has a surprisingly great cast.

THE BAD: Plot could have had more twists, story feels like it's been done, ending could have been more noiry, didn't understand the love.

THE VERDICT: It's a nice little indie noir, and kudos for getting this much, but I wanted more. It's not great, but still pretty good. A definite maybe. Rent/netflix/borrow it of you have the time if only for the badass action scenes.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Vertigo, Chinatown, On Dangerous Ground, Leon The Professional

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Within the first fifteen minutes, Price is toying with a group of kidnappers, messing with their heads and picking them off one by one. It's a great sequence, and extremely Batman.

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