Friday, August 28, 2009

"Morality Has a Sliding Scale"


An extremely solid and well-done modern noir, The Last Lullaby is one of the year’s most welcome surprises. Directed with intelligence and style to spare by first time filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman, The Last Lullaby tells the tale of a former hit-man whose life is forever altered after he accepts one last job. Adapted from the Max Allan Collin’s short story "A Matter of Principal" by Collins and Peter Biegen, The Last Lullaby could have been a very routine thriller, but Goodman’s extremely smart direction makes it feel incredibly fresh at every turn.
Shot on location in Louisiana in 2007, The Last Lullaby’s pleasures are many. Goodman, unlike a lot of young filmmakers, understands the power of holding a shot, and The Last Lullaby is a real refreshing break from the numbing rabid-fire editing that most modern Action and Crime films use. Goodman also understands how important silence can be and, as sharp as the dialogue is in The Last Lullaby, the film is at its best in the moments when the talented cast say everything without mouthing a word.
Key to the success of Goodman's first feature, strong direction aside, is the terrific lead turn from the talented Tom Sizemore. Sizemore has been in real need of a strong comeback role, after some personal demons all but derailed his career in the mid part of this decade, and The Last Lullaby is perfect for him and he makes the most of it. Spiritually weighty, intense and with not a small hint of sadness, Sizemore is incredibly good in The Last Lullaby and it is his strongest moment in front of the camera since his work in the nineties struck such a deep chord with so many of us. The rest of the cast is also strong, with special note going to Sasha Alexander as the hit who turns out to be much more.
Technically the film is an example of just how strong and solid a modern low budget work can look and sound. The film’s crisp cinematography courtesy of Richard Rutkowski is visually very pleasing and the striking score by Ben Lovett is used at just the right moments and is quite haunting. The film also benefits greatly from the cutting of editor Philip Harrison, whose work along with Goodman’s direction, gives the film a real finely nuanced and thought out seventies feel.
The Last Lullaby is a really impressive first feature from Jeffrey Goodman. Coming to DVD later this year, and currently playing at select cities and festivals, The Last Lullaby is one of the more surprising and noteworthy features of the year. I strongly recommend it. For more on the film please visit the official site here.

3 comments:

Kevin J. Olson said...

I'm really glad someone else out there has seen this film and is showing it some love. I love what you say here:

Goodman, unlike a lot of young filmmakers, understands the power of holding a shot, and The Last Lullaby is a real refreshing break from the numbing rabid-fire editing that most modern Action and Crime films use.

That's exactly what I thought after I left a screening of the film at the Salem Film Festival. I was shocked by how well-made of a thriller this was for being an independent film. I like that Goodman shot his movie with film as we were treated to a pristine 35mm print of the film in Salem.

The film reminded me a lot of other great small town neo-noirs like Blood Simple, Red Rock West, and The Lookout.

Just a wonderful surprise. I'm with ya 100% on this movie. I hope more people check it out. I think it's one of the best surprises of 2009.

Great review.

James Hansen said...

Sounds cool. Thanks for the heads up!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks to you both, I hope you enjoy the interview I just posted with Jeffrey as well.