A quirky Neo-noir mystery film, Last Looks is significantly better than I was initially anticipating. Despite a fantastic cast, it had been a long while since I watched Mel Gibson in a movie I genuinely loved. I have no clue where the spotty British accent came from, but Gibson is having a great time doing it. The main draw for me was Charlie Hunnam—I have been a big fan of his since his tenure on 1999’s UK series, Queer as Folk. Whatever the reason one decides to throw on Last Looks, they are in for a clever dark comedy murder mystery, based on the book by Howard Michael Gould.
The novel inspirations actually work in this film’s favor, favoring strong character development over the vapid surface-level crime-solving of 2003’s thematically similar Hollywood Homicide. Charlie plays Charlie Waldo, an ex-cop with a dark, depressing backstory. He has moved off the grid, living in a trailer in the wilderness, but still deeply seeded in technology (and solar panels). Charlie starts each day in careful meditation, has cut himself down to a lifestyle of possessing only one hundred things, and he is committed to lessening his carbon footprint. When Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Lorena (Morena Baccarin, Deadpool, Gotham), a private investigator, shows up seeking his help in investigating the murder of a TV-actor’s wife, Charlie’s calculated existence is thrown off balance.
The days of Charlie lounging about shirtless on a tube in the body of water near his home seem to be over. A story runs in the paper that puts a target on Charlie’s back, hailing him as joining the legal team to defend actor Alastair Pinch (Mel Gibson). Charlie heads into Los Angeles to clear his name; instead, he gets roped into spending just one day with Pinch, regardless if decides to take the job or not. He agrees, only on the terms that his $2,000 fee be donated to charity. A first impression of Pinch is spotty indeed. After flubbing a line, Pinch headbutts and proceeds to beat the daylights out of a crew member, all because Pinch thought the man was smirking at him.
Proving Pinch’s guilt (or innocence) one way or another is no easy task. Charlie is committed to the case, and the sudden disappearance of Lorena seems tied to it now. Charlie is so brazen and passionate. He is no pushover—every time Charlie is ambushed, he is simply outnumbered. Charlie Hunnam, somehow, looks nearly exactly the same here as he did almost a decade ago, in 2013’s Pacific Rim. Charlie alone is the lead on this film, but Mel Gibson’s buffoonery as Alastair Pinch tries hard to steal the scenes that feature him. The preposterous show Pinch stars in, titled “Johnnie’s Bench,” is just the type of fluffy courtroom trash that would be popular on a channel like CBS.
Providing answers and laughs in equal measure, I could not get enough of Last Looks. When the pieces click into place, a satisfying aura of completion will wash over the viewer. The surprises do not end there, as heading into the home stretch are a variety of surprising twists and turns. Fun and unexpectedly great, Last Looks delivers everything one would desire from a crime mystery, complete with a terrific ensemble cast led by the deliciously handsome Charlie Hunnam.
Last Looks opens up the search when it premieres in limited release theaters and Video on Demand on Friday, February 4th.