Review by Sean Boelman
Colin and James Krisel’s Last Moment of Clarity is a starry new neo-noir thriller like many in the genre that have come before. However, despite the fact that the film is almost entirely predictable, the solid performances and schlocky nature of the movie make it an enjoyable, if not particularly thoughtful, watch.
The film follows a man who, having started his life anew on the run from the Bulgarian mob, begins to suspect that his girlfriend that he thought to be murdered may still be alive. This is a story that we’ve seen already, and the Krisels’ script doesn’t deviate from the formula much at all, but it embraces the tropes just enough to be mindless fun.
Clocking in right at an hour and a half long, the Krisels are obviously hoping that viewers won’t have time to stop and think and will be surprised as a result. While that may be true for people who haven’t seen any thrillers since the ‘80s, this will undeniably be familiar territory for more seasoned moviegoers, and so their twists have very little impact.
But once the movie abandons the mystery tone heading into the third act, it becomes much more intriguing. Still, there isn’t a whole lot of originality, but the film is no longer treating the audience like idiots that need everything to be spoon-fed to them. In fact, it is the first act of the movie that is in need of a significant re-write.
It does take a bit of getting used to in order to like the protagonist, as his actions in the first half of the film are rather aggravating, but in that all-important second act break, he becomes a super likable hero. The supporting characters come and go, and are for the most part forgettable, with the exception of a charming sidekick the protagonist is given.
Zach Avery plays the lead of the movie and he does a good enough job of commanding the screen. That said, the rest of the cast is running circles around him. Samara Weaving once again proves that she is one of the most exciting rising stars working today as the femme fatale. Udo Kier delivers a wonderful but brief turn as the antagonist. And Brian Cox, while underused, gets a memorable speech.
On a technical level, the film is a bit above average. Although a bit more style would have gone a long way in making the movie stand out above the sea of other B-grade thrillers, it definitely doesn’t look bad. The only thing about the execution that is underwhelming is the score, which is alternatingly generic and overbearing.
Last Moment of Clarity isn’t a great film, but it’s a lot more fun than any straight-to-VOD thriller has the right to be. As a rental on a night in, it’s certainly not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.
Last Moment of Clarity hits VOD on May 19.
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