Last Looks 2022 Film Review

Last Looks (2022), directed by Tim Kirkby | FEATURE FILM REVIEW

Retired detective Charlie Waldo (Charlie Hunnam) lives a solitary, sustainable existence, off-grid in a mobile caravan. At least, he does for the first ten minutes of Tim Kirkby’s Last Looks (2022)

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Waldo has all he needs. He only owns 100 things. He has few visitors, and those that do visit seem to want to beat him up. For someone who lives alone in the middle of nowhere, a surprising amount of thugs seem to know Waldo’s whereabouts, barging in and roughing him up for no discernible reason.

Charlie Hunnam Last Looks
Charlie Hunnam as Charlie Waldo in the action/comedy, LAST LOOKS, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Clancy Brown is criminally underused

We are aware that this is clearly a very different life to what has come before. Throughout the first third of the film, there is the tacit acknowledgement that he is somehow disgraced; he resists being brought ‘back into the real world’ by his ex-girlfriend Lorena (Morena Baccarin, top and tailing the narrative in a rather thankless, ancillary role) and gruff colleague Big Jim Cuppy (a criminally underused Clancy Brown), who wants to utilise his detective skills in a murder case.

Hunnam does a good job with Waldo, despite the character switching back and forth between brooding “I don’t want to get involved in this” nonchalance and kicking some bottom seemingly at a moment’s notice. Waldo is the character around which everything else pivots, and is by far the most interesting in the film, surrounded by characters that are, by turns, either rather cartoonish or strangely peripheral to proceedings. 

Last Looks: does anyone else get a look in?

Of the cartoonish, Mel Gibson is clearly enjoying himself, hamming it up as permanently sozzled Alistair Pinch, a Hollywood luvvie with a dodgy English accent, accused of shooting his wife. He is introduced (on the set of fictional television courtroom drama “Johnnie’s Bench”) as a man surrounded by fawning sycophants fearful to ask him to do another take, and resorting to comedic violence if he takes umbrage at the way an extra looks at him. 

Despite this slightly inauspicious start, Gibson does ‘loveable rogue’ well, and by the end of the film, Pinch is arguably the only character that Waldo has made a meaningful connection with. It is a fun, but decidedly one-dimensional role as written, and Gibson does what he can with it.

Rupert Friend relishes his role as Wilson Sikorsky, a slimeball acting agent. He is a walking cliché, with requisite sunglasses and slicked back hair. You can fill in the rest.

Of the strangely peripheral, Dominic Monaghan is wasted in a fleeting appearance as a vaping attorney who exists just to be thrown up against a wall and shouted at by Waldo; one example of a completely pointless character in a completely pointless scene which occurs a few too many times in Last Looks (I refer you to my previous evidence regarding ‘thugs’, Your Honour).

These characters do serve to emphasise the difference between Waldo’s solitary existence and the madness of the fickle Hollywood machine, I suppose – but it’s hard to see if that was the film’s intention or just a by-product of the deliberately arch characterisation. The effect is that most characters feel like they have wandered in from a different film and there is nothing of substance to connect them all together. They come, and then they go.

Mel Gibson in Last Looks
Mel Gibson as Alastair Pinch the action/comedy, LAST LOOKS, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Is this the last we will see of Waldo?

This may all sound like I hated it but, actually, Last Looks (known simply as Waldo in some territories) is just a bit of fun. It may be flawed, but it is a film with its tongue firmly in its cheek and is surprisingly funny in places (I found myself giggling far too much at a running sight gag featuring a golf cart). It is less about the ‘whodunnit’ aspect of the plot and more about introducing us to Waldo, who comes across as a slightly less itinerant Jack Reacher with a beard.

It has an engaging energy and is well directed by British director Tim Kirkby (previously known for directing the likes of British TV comedies Look Around You (2002 – 2005) and Fleabag (2016 – 2019)) despite its rather derivative plot and disappointingly signposted conclusion.

Howard Michael Gould‘s profanity-laden script is based on the first in a series of his own novels about the Waldo character. This, perhaps, hints at the potential for more films featuring Waldo. With more robust plotting and stronger writing, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, if only to see how this interesting central character develops on screen.

2.5 out of 5 stars


Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Images courtesy of RLJE Films

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