The Last Lullaby
Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jeffrey Goodman
Starring: Tom Sizemore, Sasha Alexander, Sprague Grayden, Bill Smitrovich, Ray McKinnon, Omid Abtahi, Randall Batinkoff
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
"You decided you wanted her dead," Price (Tom Sizemore), an aging hit man, tells his new client, "that means she's already dead. She just doesn't know it yet." And a few days later, when Sarah (Sasha Alexander) hasn't been murdered yet, Price has to reassure his restless client that hiring him means the act is certain -- repeating a variation on his personal corporate motto -- "She's already dead, just hasn't had the obit yet."
THE LAST LULLABY is brilliantly directed by Jeffrey Goodman, who was at our screening for a Q&A afterwards. He said that when he first spoke to Sizemore about the role, Sizemore said "I am Price." Whether that is right or not, his very believable acting in THE LAST LULLABY argues that the actor's assessment is correct. In fact, Goodman said that if someone told him that in real life Sizemore had killed someone, he'd sure believe it.
In a consistently captivating performance, Sizemore plays a taciturn contract killer who thinks he has retired from the job. A beefy, middle-age guy, Price hasn't forgotten any of his skills and likes nothing better than dealing with the young bucks who try to get in his way. But it isn't only Sizemore whose acting is performed with dead-on accuracy. The entire cast works at what appears to be the top of their form.
As the movie opens, we observe Price as he stumbles onto a job. Realizing that a kidnapping is in progress of a woman named Jules (Sprague Grayden from "Jericho"), he decides to help her out -- but not quite in the way you might imagine. He saves her from her second-rate kidnappers, who would probably kill her and take the ransom too. Price decides to kidnap her himself and kill her current crop of incompetent kidnappers.
The director shows a real gift for figuring out how to stage dramatic and effective gun fights, of which there are several in the film, without letting the movie dissolve into a typical action thriller. More a drama than a thriller, the movie's best part is its carefully constructed sound design. The director told us that his picture was a revolt against movies today, which, while trying to reflect our society, just keep getting louder and faster. He slows the scenes down and minimizes the use of music and most background noise, so that the characters take the forefront.
Calling his style "naturalistic," the director clearly wanted us to pay more attention to the nuances of the characters. It really works. There are some good twists and turns in the plot and an excellent story as well, but it is the human emotions and motivations that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
If more movies were as well designed and realized as THE LAST LULLABY, going to the theater would be dramatically more satisfying. New filmmakers should look at it as a paradigm on how movies should be made.
THE LAST LULLABY runs 1:33. It is rated R for "violence and language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.