“Last Looks” begins with a montage: a person lives in a trailer within the wild, washing bare within the creek, and listening to apocalyptic predictions on the radio concerning local weather change. He is written on the facet of his trailer: DON’T WANT. DON’T ACQUIRE. Received it. We all know who this man is. Or can we? The enjoyment of “Last Looks,” and it’s typically fairly enjoyable, is attending to know him. He is been off the grid for some time, however, it solely takes the slightest tug to attract him again into the smog-covered corruption-filled metropolis of Los Angeles. And so what appears at first to be one thing alongside the strains of “Leave No Trace” or “Into the Wild” is revealed, in truth, to be a shaggy P.I. story of the old-fashioned (for which I have a smooth spot). “Last Looks,” directed by Tim Kirkby, with a screenplay by Howard Michael Gould (primarily based on his 2018 novel of the identical title) has a well-known kind: a disgruntled ex-cop will get drawn into the underworld from whence he got here, perhaps on the lookout for private redemption, or not less than a means again into the daylight.
The bearded mountain man is Charlie Waldo, performed by Charlie Hunnam, an intriguing actor who chooses fascinating materials, and seems to decide on very fastidiously. He’s within the uncommon “character actor in a number one man’s physique” class and is almost unrecognizable right here with a scraggly beard protecting his face and neck, crumpled hat pushed down over his eyes. Over the course of the movie, he’s crushed up, again and again, thrashed by this or that “heavy,” cuts and bruises added to his face in each scene. He is a multitude.
What attracts Charlie out of the mountains is a go-to from an ex-flame named Lorena (Morena Baccarin). A well-known actor named Alastair Pinch (Mel Gibson) has been arrested for murdering his spouse, and Lorena has a vested curiosity in proving Pinch did not do it. She begs Waldo to return to unravel the case. Seems, Waldo is an ex-cop who solved a high-profile case after which fell into shame. He says he did not simply burn bridges, he “burned the river.” Waldo insists to Lorena that he is executed, he has “divested,” whittling down his possessions “to 100 issues.” Lorena deadpans, “And also you stored that hat?” Waldo ultimately caves and bicycles again to Los Angeles (Waldo could have “divested” however he hasn’t moved to, say, Idaho, or the Yukon. He’s principally proper exterior Los Angeles, a humorous contact).
“Last Looks” options an unlimited solid of characters, every with a reputation as distinct because the visitors at Jay Gatsby’s well-known events, the place it is exhausting to inform what’s an actual title and what’s a nom de guerre or nom de plume. Charlie Waldo staggers by this weird role name like a person in a maze. He meets Wilson Sikorsky (Rupert Friend), motormouth head of a tv community, Fontella Davis (Robin Givens), Pinch’s annoyed well-known lawyer, and the homicide suspect himself, Alastair Pinch (Gibson), sporting Geraldo-Rivera-style facial hair, who claims he was in an alcoholic blackout when his spouse was murdered. Gibson spouts each line of dialogue like he is on the Previous Globe, makes use of phrases like “élan” and “snifter,” and corrects Waldo’s pronunciation of “Vase” with “Vahz.” It is a very humorous efficiency. Different essential figures: Don Q (Jacob Scipio, hilarious), Don Q’s “heavy” with the diminutive title “Nini” (Deacon Randle), a rapper named Swag Dogg, with three G’s. (Swagg Dogg, by the best way, is performed by Clifford Smith Jr., a.ok.a. “Method Man” of the Wu-Tang Clan, in addition to his collaborations with Redman. Legend.) Lastly, there’s Jayne White (Lucy Fry), a primary grade trainer with a wild facet. Everyone seems to be a possible suspect.
This all feels like a traditional noir, and there are some overt stylistic touches: ceiling followers, Venetian blinds, and a scene in a bar that includes drastic lights and shadows. The noir “nods” are self-conscious set dressing, calling consideration to themselves within the midst of the extra madcap 1970s vibe of the remainder because the more and more bedraggled Waldo clambers onto his bicycle many times to hunt out one more suspect with an uncommon title. Shane Black’s fantastic “The Nice Guys” is an apparent reference level (together with a nod to Christmas in a late scene, a Shane Black motif), though Black’s movie is extra stylistically coherent. “Last Looks” works finest in its twisted often-incoherent plot, the place no character is generic. Everybody has a secret. Nobody is on the extent. Surfaces lie.
Tim Kirkby may be very snug within the comedy realm, judging from his tv historical past, and his background filming specials for standup comedians. He skillfully directed the pilot of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag,” a sui generis phenom, with wild switchbacks in tone, from raunchy to poignant to considerate. (There are such a lot of methods “Fleabag” might have been derailed, however, Kirkby set the ship out to sea with sails unfurled to catch the correct wind.) He manages an enormous solid right here, and everyone seems to be on the identical web page, tone-wise. This takes actual ability. The script makes me need to learn the ebook and is notable in that no two characters discuss in the identical cadence or stream. Every character has their very own rhythm. It is a movie crammed with distinctive voices.
Some individuals may discover “Last Looks” irritating, may discover the entire thing synthetic or unsatisfying. At one level, Waldo sums up the entire plot to Sikorsky, laying out all he has discovered. Sikorsky proclaims in horror, “There are gaping holes in your narrative!” He is proper. But it surely does not actually matter.