Directed by: Paolo Pilladi
Written by: Greg Lingo, Paolo Pilladi
Starring: Jeremy Piven, Taryn Manning, Cathy Moriarty
Film Review by: Vikas Yadav
There is no place like home. These six words hit you the most when you circle back to your hometown after being away for a long time. The smell, the food, the familiar faces of your parents and friends and relatives - all of them make you elicit a warm response from within. The compassion and friendliness put you in the arms of serenity. You feel safe. Some of us like to visit a particular spot where memories must have been made. For me, it was my old school where I met some terrific friends who made both the school and my childhood very memorable. I used to go there and remember those good old days, which I cannot do now since I have moved to another city. My school, my friends, and my crush are now a part of my memory. I can only “see” them in my mind.
I laid down my feelings to make you understand why I was so jealous of Mick (Jeremy Piven) while watching Paolo Pilladi’s Last Call. Here is a man who got the luxury to return to his home, which even after years still consisted of the same people, same friends, and same neighbours. What’s more? He even gets to meet his childhood crush! She is Ali (Taryn Manning). But Mick does not interpret the situation like me. Duh! Obviously. He might not have even come back to his home if not for the funeral. Whose funeral? Watch the movie. Let’s just say that the person is important and that Mick’s return from the city is edited into a fast forward motion, signifying the gravity of the situation.
Soon after Mick reaches his hometown called Darby Heights, he is assigned the task of getting signatures from the neighbours in order to set up a casino in the town. For the locals, it is casi-NO. But Mick is one of their own, making it easy for him to butter them up into signing on the paper. We know it would backfire on him. We wait for Mick to come on the same page as the audience. Sounds familiar? Because it is. Last Call is one of those stories where the protagonist sheds his differences and accepts his home, his people, and his place.
This is the kind of story that has all the necessary ingredients to pull at your heartstrings. It’s sad then that Last Call fails to even lay a finger on your heart. The supporting characters are colourful and filled with eccentricity, yet the film never manages to bring them alive. I can consider the adult portions as the film’s way of showing what Mick had missed during his time in the city. But after some time, the jump from seriousness to adult comedy felt more like a mixture of two different movies, creating a tonal inconsistency. Mick and Ali’s romance never leaps out of the page (or screen).
It’s a pity because I read that Last Call is based on Greg Lingo’s - the writer of this film - experience of living in Upper Darby. The character of Mick loosely comes from him, while the rest of the cast are all combinations of a bunch of guys he grew up with (I was so happy to see Cathy Moriarty). Sadly, you just get glimpses of his real-life translations and not the entire view of it. The great Roger Ebert once said that it’s not what a movie is about; it’s how it is about it. Last Call is about accepting your home and your family. How is it about it? Not so good, frankly.
Last Call will be available Digital Download from 29th March