Last Call: Well-Acted Tearjerker Successfully Uses One-Shot Gimmick

3 out of 5 stars (average)

Poster courtesy of Mimetic Entertainment

Thank you to Mimetic Entertainment for reaching out to me for this review.

In my 1917 review, I stated that I’m not a fan of the one-shot gimmick. This is when the filmmaker shoots the entire movie in one shot (or edits several takes together to appear as if they’re one continuous shot).  Most films I’ve seen use this feel as though more work went into maintaining that gimmick than the script, but Last Call is the first film I’ve seen yield emotionally gripping results from this style because it has a good script.  Last Call proves validity in its one-shot gimmick by using it to increase our emotional connection to its characters and builds to a tearjerking finale.

Filmed in split screens, we follow young single mom Beth (Sarah Booth) and depressed alcoholic Scott (Daved Wilkins).  Beth is worried about her young son having not arrived home after hanging with a friend, but is called in to work the late shift.  After leaving a bar, Scott heads home and calls what he thinks is a suicide hotline, but is actually Beth’s office.  This begins a conversation in which both parties will open up about their problems and potentially move on from them.

Last Call has a slow pace, but Wilkins and Booth carry it through and have good material to work with.  While I was heavily skeptical of the one-shot gimmick, by films’ end I couldn’t see this working as well had they shot it traditionally.  Seeing the actors’ small reactions throughout the call helps build an emotional connection to both characters, and their character arcs are smartly subtle rather than overly embellished.  It has a slightly sluggish start, but afterwards becomes a solid drama.  Last Call uses its technical gimmick to great emotional effect and is carried by good performances and a tearjerking ending.  This Last Call is one worth answering.

Likely Rated R for Language and Alcohol Use

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