When a film features the likes of Charlie Hunnam, Mel Gibson, Morena Baccarin, Lucy Fry, and Clancy Brown, you know you’re in for a treat. But does Tim Kirkby’s Last Looks, based on Howard Michael Gould‘s novel of the same name, deserve even a second (never mind last) look?
What’s Last Looks about?
Think of modern mystery films like Knives Out and Werewolves Within. Not only do they keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going on and whodunit, but they’re comical and quirky in the sense of how things unravel. Last Looks follows in the same vein.
Ex-cop Charlie Waldo (Hunnam) left behind the city life to live in the serenity and isolation of nature. His ex-girlfriend Lorena (Baccarin) tries to convince him to help her solve an investigation involving actor Alistair Pinch (Gibson). Pinch’s wife was found dead, and he’s now become the prime suspect. Charlie isn’t interested in the case until Lorena disappears off the face of the earth as well. Suddenly, he heads off to Hollywood where he needs to deal with the studio execs, gangsters, and all of Pinch’s associates.
But is it good?
Yes. Last Looks is like a Guy Ritchie film that isn’t made by Guy Ritchie. The dialogue is sharp and witty, while all the characters are memorable for their quirks and impact on the plot. Much like Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, which starred Hunnam as well, every character plays an important role in the story here. Whether it’s by what you’d think is the most insignificant of actions or by something much grander and direct, everyone you encounter is a piece in this giant puzzle.
Hunnam’s Waldo steals the show as an entertaining lead. He’s retired and wants to be left alone, but he gets pulled back into this world he doesn’t want to be involved in. Unlike an ordinary protagonist who always seems to have the right answers and solutions, Waldo is the opposite. Sometimes, he does show his skill and ability to sniff out danger, but he also gets lucky. A lot. It’s also hilarious to see him beaten up so often and having the look on his face that he’d rather be anywhere else. He certainly is no Dirty Harry here.
Last Looks isn’t trying to reinvent the genre or deviate from the formula introduced by a film such as Knives Out. It sets up a basic premise and mystery, but it’s carried by a fantastic cast that never gives anything away. By the end of it, you want to see more of Waldo on screen, which is entirely a possible since Gould has written another two novels about the private investigator.
Additionally, Last Looks puts Kirkby on the map as a director who’s more than capable of dabbling in the same space as the likes of Ritchie. He’s no stranger to the comedy genre, having been involved in Fleabag and Look Around You, but the quirky mystery-detective genre might just be his calling in life.