You don’t get too many neo-noir thrillers these days and Brothers Krisel – Colin and James – have pitched “Last Moment Of Clarity” as a new entrant in the genre pool. Which seemed exciting, as you settled down to watch.
It doesn’t take you long to figure out what’s wrong with the effort. The Krisels try too hard to ‘create’ a noir movie, ticking almost all the boxes mechanically but barely managing to capture the essence. Despite adhering to individual generic elements, the film never really comes alive as engaging in entirety.
Making a neo-noir thriller is not what it used to be, you begin to sense – perhaps the past masters have been there, done it all.
The script, credited to the Krisels, presents Zach Avery as Sam, a New Yorker hiding in Paris. There’s been an earlier incident in the US, involving the European mafia, which leads to Sam’s girlfriend Georgia (Samara Weaving) taking a bullet. Fearing for his life, Sam escapes and lands as a dishwasher at a Paris bar.
Then, one day, he spots an actress named Lauren Clerk in a Hollywood film. He is convinced the actress is actually Georgia, and flies to Los Angeles to unravel the truth.
The story has an adequate build-up till it keels over, under the weight of too many contrived situations. Sam must meet Lauren to figure out the truth but it is, of course, impossible to enter the super-exclusive celeb circle of Hollywood. So, the screenplay conveniently wedges Kat (Carly Chaikin).
Kat, it turns out, is an old schoolmate of Sam’s and, fancy the odds, has access into the Hollywood super set.
Plot liberties as these abound, reducing noir to absurdity. Sam’s plan of action clearly has no rationale as he goes trying to uncover the truth about Georgia/Lauren, and Kat tags along – her logic for backing him is she likes “crazy”. In another scene in the climax, the dreaded mafia patriarch who is after Sam’s life is hospitalised. So, Sam simply puts on a doctor’s coat and saunters in and pep-talks the bed-ridden goon into sparing his life.
Most questions about the mystery are answered in the last half hour or so, and many of the twists that explain the suspense drama are unconvincing. It could be due to the uneven writing, but an interesting cast seems far from convincing, too.
“Last Moment Of Clarity” clearly doesn’t leave you with enough moments to take back after a watch.
Last Moment Of Clarity | Cast: Zach Avery; Samara Weaving, Carly Chaikin, Hal Ozsan, Udo Kier, Brian Cox | Direction: James and Colin Krisel
By Vinayak Chakravorty