Friday, December 10, 2021

The Last Son

Isaac Lemay has been cursed by a tribal elder, who has apparently read his Sophocles. The old man actually called it a prophecy, but the way Lemay lets it consume him definitely makes it a curse. Told he will one day be killed by one of his offspring, Lemay sets out to systematically kill his kin in Tim Sutton’s The Last Son, which releases today in theaters and on-demand.

Killing is what Lemay does best. It is what earned him the “curse.” However, he still found time to visit many prostitutes. Anna is one of the last, whose sons are not yet accounted for. Lemay makes quick work of the one she acknowledged, but Cal, the one she gave up for adoption for his own protection, is a slippery outlaw. In fact, he is a lot like his old man.

Cal’s feelings towards his mother are a little confused (again, see the literary allusion above), but the man who makes her swoon is Solomon, a hardboiled cavalry officer. Having been raised by the Cheyenne as a foundling, Solomon always remains a bit of an outsider in white society. Nevertheless, he is determined to bring to justice the outlaws who stole a gatling gun and murdered a detachment of troops. Yes, that would be Cal and his associates.

This is a dramatic change of pace for Sutton, who was previously known for moody art-house fare like
Memphis. There is still a whole lot of brooding in Last Son, but everyone also takes care of Western genre business. As Westerns go, it is super-revisionist, but there is also a pinch of Weird West too, which makes things interesting.

Coiffed like the Unabomber, Sam Worthington creates a surprisingly fierce persona and projects a mammoth presence as Lemay. Once he hits that note, the film really doesn’t have anyplace else for him to go, but the initial transformation is still impressive. Thomas Jane is all kinds of grizzled and hardboiled as Solomon. Sometimes he even sounds a little like Charles Bronson (the real one), which kind of works. It is hard to believe Heather Graham is old enough for the role, but she nicely portrays the disillusioned Anna. However, Colson Baker (a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly) brings a lot of empty noise as Cal.

Sutton’s pacing could be a little tighter and the score is a little too ambio (aside from the aptly unnerving closing electro theme). Yet, there is still a good deal of testosterone and bad karma sparking throughout
Last Son. Frankly, it is one of the better legit westerns of the year. Recommended for fans of the genre, Last Son opens today (12/10) in New York, at the Cinema Village.