Last Moment of Clarity is a thriller in all but name only; we have a film with endless possibilities, but it never has a chance to breathe due to its truncating runtime. Coupled with some lazy performances, only Carly Chaikin comes out of the film in a positive light.
Gambling addict Sam Picnic (Zach Avery) goes into hiding in Paris after falling foul with apparent mobsters, culminating in the death of his beautiful wannabe actress, Georgia (Samara Weaving). Three years later, and a chance encounter in a cinema, he begins to believe that she may not be as dead as he originally thought. Sam heads to LA to determine what really happened to Georgia and if the person he saw on the screen was really here. But he risks running into the gangsters still after him. Can he uncover the truth, or will they succeed in bumping him off?
As the mysteries begin to be revealed, the whole concept of the movie unravels before our eyes. For one, the whole premise is a tough one to swallow. If Georgia is alive and seemingly afraid of what might happen or be remembered, why on earth would she go on to try and make it as an actress? Without trying to spoil what happens in the film, decisions are made here that make zero sense and what does happen is also very easy to predict. Characters fall for each other far too quickly; characters turn up in places that they really shouldn’t. Everyone appears to be making impulsive decisions with little thinking. People seem to be able to access anything at any time. Everything is just far too simple.
Worst of all, there is next to no emotion or tension in Last Moment of Clarity. Events that happen should be traumatising or important, yet they go by with but a second glance. Sequences feel to be missing important scenes. We see none of the film’s workings and only get to the answers, yet this is a film that desperately needs the working out to help fill out all of the gaps. We need more time for these characters to develop, so it becomes cheap when they jump to decisions. Especially so when it happens again and again as if the film has been gutted in the edit. For example, when a major reveal is made 20 or so minutes into the film, it takes less than 30 minutes to get to the showdown. There is no middle to this picture, and thrillers need that to succeed.
With no character development to speak of, it just flattens out the narrative and grinds it to a stop. We get cursory information, and there is a sincere lack of depth, especially with our antagonists who are as thinly written as conceivably possible.
While most of the cast appear to sleepwalk their way through Last Moment of Clarity, Carly Chaikin stands out like a blossoming flower. She gives the film energy every time she comes onto the screen and pushes the movie when it begins to stall. As the other cast dawdle, Chaikin takes the film and almost makes it a vehicle for herself. Though it is hard to imagine that her characters personality and traits, and name are not just based on Kat Dennings, honestly, it is eerie how she is written here. The shining light of the film that needed to be in it a far sight more.
But back to the rest of the cast. Avery never seems to have the urgency needed for his role. For someone experiencing what he has, there is barely any emotion in his character. Even as he relays his dialogue, the emotion is gone from him; he is so stoic that you wonder why he is even bothering and the less said about Weaving’s performance, the better. As mentioned, these are actors who have given terrific turns before, but unless someone told them that they were getting half of the pay they expected and couldn’t get out of the film, there is no reason for how little effort they give to their performances—some truly baffling choices.
It may come across as a tad too harsh on the film, but that is because there is so much possibility that the fact it does next to nothing with the premise and the cast can only frustrate the living hell out of the audience. This should be a film close if not above two hours; however, we are running effectively 34 minutes short. It is inexcusable to have the extra runtime to flesh more of the story and the characters out. At times Last Moment of Clarity is a slick thriller, and when it works, it really works, which makes the lack of furthering the story all the more bewildering.
In the end, you are left with disappointment in feeling as if the filmmakers forgot to put in half of the film. What could have been a home run of a film ends up being a bitter disappointment.
Last Moment Of Clarity makes its UK debut from 101 Films and (Yet) Another Distribution Company on 8 March 2021.
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