Let’s see if Netflix has a hit.
No no no no no no no no.
The Last Days of American Crime comes in on the heels of Minority Report and The Purge with a completely unearned and failed Scorsese vibe. Similar to those movies, we have some interesting ideas filtered through a sleazy idiot mush filter that renders it a failed experiment.
The most frustrating part of all of these movies in this vein is that they have good ideas internally. A synopsis of this movie sounds promising, the ideas behind this movie and the themes presented (immigration and crime to name a couple) are worth discussing. Unfortunately, we end up with flat characters with videogame caliber motivations.
With less than a week before the API is activated Graham Bricke (get it, his name is two units of drug measurement…) needs to pull off a heist and escape to Canada. The API is a governmental technology that will prevent crime from occurring by blocking synaptic responses in the citizens. If some tries to do something illegal, they die (they’re heads should have exploded like in Videodrome-that would have been awesome). We get some noise about the implications of such a device, but nothing that resembles a discussion. I’m not even going to bother talking about how the science in this movie doesn’t know how to science.
Anyway, Quarter Ounce is in a lot of trouble as he will be killed if he doesn’t escape due to a botched robbery. How will he be killed after the API is activated? I dunno. Why are you asking questions? I guess we’re supposed to side with Dimebag Ounce even though we aren’t given a reason as to why we should. Criminals can be complex characters (anything by Scorsese or Mann proves this), but complex characters require decent writing.
Derivative plots can work okay if we have decent writing. The crime caper has been done so much you’d think something that is so obviously copying other movies would be able to do it a little better. The storytelling here is at a Junior High level, and honestly, that is insulting to teenagers. Why this film was made is completely beyond me. No wonder it was dumped unceremoniously on Netflix. Even the usually good Michael Pitt (who plays Kevin Cash) can’t drag this one out of the sewer.
Cash promises to help Bricke get a ton of money AND get revenge for the death of a younger brother we don’t care about. They don’t have a lot of time, so they need to be all reckless and awesome (read lame and trying way too hard to be cool).
The artistry of filmmaking is completely absent in this film. Just about every shot starts centered on the subject and then pulls back with the occasional side angle or sweeping shot (often obscured). There is no direction for the viewer to know what they are supposed to pay attention to. The whole film feels monotonous, and I can’t think of another film where even the directing is monotonous. I think the camera was trapped to not allow it to look up or down. Also, lighting is pointless I guess.
The length of the film is atrocious. At two and a half hours this becomes an endurance test before even the halfway point. Usually, a film could be saved in the editing room, but I don’t think there is anything worth saving here. Granted, it would have made the film less punishing to have been cut by at least an hour.
Overall, we have a complete failure of a film that has no redeeming value. Everything is terrible here. You’d be better off staring at the damn wall than watching this crap. Disgusting characters in an incompetent script. Honestly, this one is bad enough to avoid anything the writer or director ever touch.
Honestly, this is worse than The Room without any of the fun.
Easily one of the worst films of the year.