Last Looks (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – A disgraced ex-cop seeks solace by moving to the woods, but his quiet life comes to an end when a private eye recruits him to investigate a murder.

My Take – Book to screen adaptions are usually hit or miss especially the ones from the thriller genre. Mainly as character developments, specific plot points and the basic stretch of the whole story end up getting trimmed to hold the viewer’s attention, thereby affecting the whole product.

A classic example of this case would be last year’s The Woman in the Window which was despite a starry star cast ended up turning into a damp squib.

While one would expect the same case to be delved with this latest film, which is directed by Tim Kirkby (Action Point), adapted by writer Howard Michael Gould from his own novel of the same name, it surprisingly doesn’t, as it is more interested in allowing the viewer to simultaneously try and crack the case without never having to overly invest in its airy plot.

Similar in vein to films like Fletch (1985) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), this light detective fiction is rooted in the familiar classic mold of the whodunit and dives deep into the seedy world of LA elites, drug dealers, scumbag lawyers, and crooked people, but just done without the dark edges the genre is known for.

Set at a groovy tone and brimming with eccentric characters, with each offering something entertaining, the film is more of a comedy about corrupt people attached to a brutal murder, with a private investigator caught up in the strangeness of it all, hunting for clues and meeting characters who would rather see him off the case.

Yes, the main mystery plot isn’t exactly compelling, but the wacky ensemble cast serve enough to result in a moderately entertaining whodunit.

The story follows Charlie Waldo (Charlie Hunnam), a former golden boy LAPD detective, who following an incident has moved into the woods, taken up a minimalist lifestyle, and trying to keep his mind steady with limited possessions and daily meditations.

That is until his recluse life is interrupted by the arrival of his ex-girlfriend Lorena Nascimento (Morena Baccarin), a private investigator, who wants his help to look into the murder of Monica, the wife of Alistair Pinch (Mel Gibson), star of the hit judge drama “Johnnie’s Bench”, who has been accused of murdering her in their enormous mansion.

Though he initially refuses, Charlie ends up getting involved in the case and returns to L.A. when Lorena doesn’t return his calls, and finds himself at the end of a threatening visit by a group of mercenaries.

Once there, Charlie finds himself pulled into a puzzle of dangerous and demented personalities like the gangster Don Q (Jacob Scipio) and the kindergarten teacher Jayne (Lucy Fry), with Alastair sticking out as the strangest of the bunch, who continues to his claim his drunkard innocence.

Without a doubt, the plot is promising and the character introductions even better, though it is never in a lofty league, it does contain some hilarious moments. With Charlie welcomed into the world of Alastair, a showy English actor who guzzles booze, punches crew members randomly, and delivers the finest acting to be seen on television, his efforts to preserve his naturalist lifestyle turns into an effective running gag.

He rides his bike everywhere in L.A., which becomes problematic and time-consuming. He also struggles to stick to his possessions limit. At no point does it seem like he is truly in control nor does it feel like someone else is holding all the answers. But importantly no one is happy that he is back.

While the mystery of the film remains the sole focus, director Tim Kirkby and Howard Michael Gould seem more interested in the industry exploration, tilting the whole endeavor toward satire without committing to a wild sense of humor.

Sure, the film throws in enough twists to keep one engaged, but the entertainment value is in the idiosyncrasies and dangerous encounters. Personally, I found the unmasking head-scratching and totally unbelievable, but thankfully it is not bad enough to tank film and its comedic values.

Performance wise, both Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson succeed in playing against type. Unlike their usual tough guy personas, Hunnam is more grounded here, while Gibson is mostly in slapstick territory. In supporting roles, Rupert Friend, Jacob Scipio and Lucy Fry efficiently add more than required.

But despite her importance to the plot, Morena Baccarin appears only in a handful of scenes, and is alright. In smaller roles, Clancy Brown, Dominic Monaghan and Method Man are under-used. On the whole, ‘Last Looks’ is a moderately entertaining mystery with hilarious but familiar beats.

Directed –

Starring – Charlie Hunnam, Mel Gibson, Lucy Fry

Rated – R

Run Time – 110 minutes

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