Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Sam Worthington, Thomas Jane, Heather Graham, Machine Gun Kelly (Colson Baker), Emily Marie Palmer, James Landry Hébert, Alex Meraz, Kim DeLonghi
Written by: Greg Johnson
Directed by: Director:
MPAA Rating: R for violence throughout, some sexual content, nudity and language
Running Time: 96
Date: 12/10/2021
IMDB

The Last Son (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Dad Blood

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This Western, with hints of the Oedipus story, is elegantly composed and quietly paced, though the slower beats tend to work against the story's more predictable bits, as well as its confusing parts.

A man (Sam Worthington) is said to have received a curse from a Cheyenne Chief: he will be killed by one of his own children. So the man heads out on a deadly odyssey to kill all of his offspring, all sired by prostitutes. After several killings, the rumors of his dark quest begin to spread. He visits a 16 year-old daughter, Megan (Emily Marie Palmer), and determines that she won't kill him, but kills her father before he departs.

He visits a prostitute (Heather Graham) and demands to know the whereabouts of her son, Cal (Colson Baker, a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly), snapping off her thumb in the process. Cal himself is a murderer and a thief, having stolen a Gatling gun from the U.S. Army. An officer, Solomon (Thomas Jane), is after him. Before long, all parties descend upon a snowy main street for a final showdown.

The Last Son positively luxuriates in its Western setting and sounds — the snow gradually falls and builds as the movie goes — and it has some of the coolest cowboy costumes in a while. Oftentimes the pacing lovingly emphasizes the movie's atmosphere. Other times, it lets loose with a sudden surprise, such as a scene in a bar, when a loudmouth makes a rude comment about Cal's mother; we expect the typical punch in the face, leading to the typical barroom brawl, but instead, Cal stabs the man repeatedly to a stunned silence.

There are other surprises, as when characters we expect to survive are suddenly cut down. But the ending is far from a surprise, and in fact the movie telegraphs it so obviously and so far in advance that it's a puzzle as to why. Other parts are just baffling, as when Cal creepily rips his mother's lingerie from her shoulders, revealing her breasts (it's Oedipal... but why?).

In another scene, the Worthington character — whom the credits call "Isaac Lemay," but who is more frequently referred to as "the Devil" — lies bleeding and beat by the side of the road, and comes face to face with Cal; the scene comes to nothing, but a few minutes later, the Devil is back up, setting traps and killing several men. All in all, The Last Son is great to look at, but not so great to watch.

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