The movie adaptation of the 2018 crime-mystery novel Last Looks has been released and its received mixed reviews from film critics.
The new action-comedy starring Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson, and directed by Tom Kirkby, sees Hunnman star as a disgraced LAPD police officer Charlie Waldo, who comes out of retirement to investigate the murder of Alistair Pinch’s (Mel Gibson) wife.
Gibson plays an eccentric, alcoholic, television actor who prefers to spend most of his days drunk and living the high life, but when his wife is found dead he immediately becomes the prime suspect in her murder.
As Pinch tried to clear his name, he finds himself working alongside Waldo and the duo are thrust into the world of Hollywood elites and gangsters as Waldo attempts to clear Pinch’s name or prove his guilt.
According to Peter Debruge, Chief Film Critic at Variety, “director Tim Kirkby successfully walks the line between sustaining a flip, irreverent tone and laying it all on a bit thick”.
Admitting, that while Gibson’s latest mystery film isn’t as “complex” as it should be, saying ” all the clues are there in plain sight” he found the film’s journey more interesting than its destination.
“The suburban Sherpa shtick of the film’s first two-thirds is amusing enough, but also a bit of a put-on, like the Timberlake fedora and bright yellow fixie (Waldo’s sworn off fossil fuels) — an affectation just waiting to be reversed,” he says.
Jeffrey Anderson from Common Sense Media rated Last Looks a solid three stars out of five stars, saying ” this comic detective story ranks several notches below others of its ilk, but it’s bright, spirited, and well-told, with an appealing approach to its laid-back, kooky humour and silly characters”.
Like Debruge, Anderson says nothing really seems to matter in this film, “the comedy glosses over the actual murder, and there seems to be no realistic reaction to the death”.
Despite this Anderson says the audience will still get some genuine giggles out of the film and says Last Looks is still worth a watch.
Robert Kojder, a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association, is yet another critic who rated the movie three stars.
Kojder claims the movie was a “tad too long for its own good, especially since it’s not exactly challenging to pinpoint who is responsible and has crucial information”.
“At times, the jokes can also be sophomoric (a police officer with a surname that sounds like ‘anus.’ However, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the silliness surrounding the tragedy and Waldo’s various motives for delivering justice,” Kodjer says.
Overall, Kodjer found the film entertaining enough and tells audiences it’s worth a first look.
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Roger Ebert‘s Sheila O’Malley also awarded the move a three star review, commending director Tim Kirby’s skill in being able to manage a large cast and, tone-wise, to get everyone on the same page.
“This takes real skill,” she says, adding how the movie’s script made her want to read the book.
While she says it’s a “film filled with unique voices,” O’Malley also says Last Looks might be frustrating for some viewers, saying some people “might find the whole thing artificial or unsatisfying”.
“At one point, Waldo sums up the whole plot to Sikorsky, laying out all he has learned. Sikorsky proclaims in horror, ‘There are gaping holes in your narrative!’ He’s right. But it doesn’t really matter,” she says.
But other critics have come out saying Last Looks would have faired significantly better without Gibson, arguing that casting the scandal-riddled actor to play an eccentric drunk television star was the wrong move.
Leslie Felperin from The Guardian says the “comedy-crime thriller that would have been a lot more fun without him”.
“Gibson is practically trolling us by playing Alastair Pinch, a close-to-the-bone version of himself a few years back,” she says.
“At least this semi-satirical fiction, adapted by Howard Michael Gould from his own novel and efficiently directed by Brit Tim Kirkby, recognises that forgiveness is always around the corner for film stars no matter how flawed so long as they have good PR and box-office draw.”
While Gibson only plays a supporting charter in Last looks, Felperin says the movie would have been “pretty bouncy and fun if it didn’t have the wretched Gibson in it.” Before adding, “isn’t the industry awash with ageing stars that could fill the role just as well?”