Written & Directed by K. Patrick Tutera
Starring Aleksandra Vujcic, K. Patrick Tutera, Michael Bronte
Short Film Review by Monica Jowett
The Last Hurrah, a short film by director and writer K. Patrick Tutera, is a homage to film noir, telling the story of two characters with a complex history. Within the 18 minutes of the film, Tutera packs in style, substance and soul, and his effort in creating a remarkable film noir short pays off.
The Last Hurrah follows Petra (Aleksandra Vujcic) and Samuel (Michael Bronte), ex husband and wife who are pulling one last heist together before a retirement from crime, with their ‘last hurrah’ giving them one big pay-off. Their history together goes a long way and it was not all smooth sailing.
Petra is a femme fatale, a prominent trope in classical Hollywood film noir, and a mysterious figure whose intentions are not quite trustworthy. She clearly has big plans for the money she has acquired and isn’t letting anything get in her way. Vujcic's natural Croatian accent helps to add to the mystique of Petra and also creates an undeniable charm and seductive nature, a brilliant match against Bronte’s chiselled American masculinity. He has the looks and charisma of a leading man, yet there is gentle aspect to him as well. Samuel clearly has deep feelings for his ex-wife, and she may be his only weakness, but he uses sarcasm and cynicism as a barrier of defence.
The noir style of the film is easy to see, from the trench coat and fedora to the sharp contrast lighting. Cinematographer Philip Hurn brings the black and white imagery into sharp focus, and along with the immaculate production design by Katherine Bulovic, the viewer feels transported into the film noir world.
It is not just the look of The Last Hurrah that makes it film noir, with the background story of the heist, its urban setting and the themes of love, jealousy and the possibility of a betrayal which bubbles under the surface, all classic characteristics of the genre. Though many modern retellings in a film noir style can feel cheesy, or over-the-top, Tutera has made this short film a near perfect homage to a much loved style and genre of filmmaking. Though a little too wordy and a stale centre, The Last Hurrah is a fine example of a modern film noir, with great performances from its two leads, a storyline which keeps you interested throughout and is, overall, visually compelling. Just as a film noir should be.