Let’s make 2021 twenty twenty fun.
Those of you who read How About Notflix will know that I don’t read other reviews of movies or shows before I write my own. I also don’t read reviews after I write my reviews, because I generally don’t care what critics think about the stuff I watch nor do I care what the general public’s consensus is. The most I’ll do is look at the overall score on Rotten Tomatoes. Yeah, I get the irony being that I write this website yet openly don’t respect critics, but I don’t consider myself to be a film critic. Like much of my other writing, this exists almost entirely for my own amusement which is why you’ll notice I put barely any work into promoting the site or doing things that would bring in more traffic like reviewing popular media in a timely manner. Everyone has an opinion on movies and I don’t pretend that mine is more important.
This week I watched The Last Son. A western movie directed by Tim Sutton, a director you’ll be familiar with from who cares, the film stars Sam Worthington as Isaac LeMay, a man who is cursed by a Native American tribe with a prophecy that he will be killed by his own child. Having fathered numerous illegitimate children over the years, LeMay goes on a trip around the country to simply murder all of his children and prevent the prophecy from coming true. If you haven’t figured out by now, this is one of those self-fulfilling prophecy stories, where the lead character ensures the outcome by going out of their way to prevent it.
For a guy who got so many prostitutes pregnant and left them all, LeMay has an exceptional memory of knowing exactly where he needs to go to kill his kids. Now I couldn’t find my glasses in my apartment if you told me vaguely where I left them ten minutes ago. Two of LeMay’s children play a starring role in this film as well. His son Cole has grown up in exactly the way Hollywood portrays children born to prostitutes whose father is out of the picture. Cole grows up to be an outlaw and a murderer, roaming around the land with his crew of banditos holding up banks, killing travelers on the roads and robbing them, and stealing the military’s big ass machine gun. Cole is played by none other than Colson Baker, who many of you may be more familiar with as Machine Gun Kelly. A machine gun stolen by Machine Gun Kelly? That’s just on the nose.
Also starring is LeMay’s daughter Megan (Emily Marie Palmer) which is funny because she has no spot on the cover or top billing. The Last Son is parted into a five act structure that jumps around between characters. The casting acts as something of a Good, Bad, and Ugly trio alongside the fourth billing of Thomas Jane playing a US Marshal tracking down Cole. Thomas Jane is fantastic and has that beautifully deep voice perfect for playing a menacing…antagonist? Of course this is a western so the only good guy in the movie is the one genuinely trying to stop the bad guys from doing bad things and getting innocent people hurt.
Sam Worthington is really good in this movie considering his voice may put you off at first. He doesn’t have that stereotypical gravely western tone like many of the other characters, but rather he plays one of those villains whose soft-spoken voice actually adds to their threatening nature. This was probably done deliberately to set him apart from the rest of the cast. Isaac LeMay isn’t worried about striking fear into the hearts of those he comes across or looking like a bad ass, in fact he regularly avoids conflict when it isn’t necessary. You get the picture early on that he’s not keen on killing his kids and he makes several efforts to assess them as threats to judge if maybe he doesn’t have to resort to violence.
Cole meanwhile is much more of a stereotypical villain considering the movie is clearly setting him up as the one to have the final showdown and stop his dad. A little too late given Cole is the final living son and LeMay would presumably just go back to living his normal life if Cole died. Cole murders people needlessly and often for fun or just to remind bystanders that he can. He’s the son of a prostitute who has a love for his mother (Heather Graham) bordering on the incestuous, and while he claims he’s doing all this bandito stuff so he can rescue her from prostitution and build a better life for both of them, you get the feeling that story is just a cover for him really enjoying murdering innocent people.
If we go by the analogy to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, then Megan would be The Good and both Cole and LeMay would be The Bad. LeMay is the bad guy obviously because while Cole happens to be a murderous bastard child, you do see that LeMay has been killing his other sons many of whom probably didn’t deserve it. You probably could have created a whole other movie focused directly on Solomon, the Marshal who we see tracking down Cole with his crew. I love Thomas Jane even if he did take part in a number of films over the last couple of years exploiting Bruce Willis’ clear mental decline from Aphasia. He was just an actor though so I won’t fault him too hard.
My biggest issue with The Last Son is its obvious budget constraints. When you have a big ass Gatling gun that kills a dozen people and leaves the scenery unscathed it becomes pretty obvious that the crew was renting the set and props and needed to return them in pristine condition. Either that or they didn’t have the confidence to blow anything up on the off-chance they might screw up the take and need to redo it, or they didn’t have the on-set experts and licenses required to legally shoot such a scene and didn’t want to do it the old fashioned way (illegally). It’s a stark reminder at parts that while other films do everything to make you feel like the film is taking place in a real world, that this film is in fact on a set. One that the studio paid a hefty price to build and doesn’t want to destroy.