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1 review, 2 user ratings

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Last Call (2002)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Reduced to see-if-you-must TV."
3 stars

Last Call, not to be mistaken with the late-night talk show hosted by the smugly, talentless Carson Daly, is rather Henry Bromell’s follow-up to the poetic and melancholy hitman film, Panic.

Like the prior film, this one is similarly cursed with a debut on cable (Showtime), despite some star wattage from Jeremy Irons, Neve Campbell and Sissy Spacek — but unlike its predecessor, it never got to make the theatrical rounds at all. A low-key period piece, observing the last chapter of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (Irons) troubled life through the eyes of his newly hired and naďve secretary (Campbell), has him battling old demons as he attempts to write once more: alcoholism, memories of his asylum-ed wife, maintaining a relationship with a younger woman, etc. The insight into some of his actions and behavior is potentially heightened by the material this is based on (secretary Frances Kroll Ring’s memoirs), but Bromell is not clear of slumping down to the unctuous, the sentimental, something that made Panic such a fresh breath by avoiding. Bromell employs a number of the same crew members — cinematographer, composer, the casting again of Campbell — but the scene seems to be automatically set at a lower scale, a television scale. Everything, maybe aside from the investment of the actors, is toned down several notches, and there is less ambition displayed from the production as well as the portraiture of Fitzgerald that separates Bromell’s skillful realism and existential path in his premiere effort. There is still a level of classiness attained, often on accord of the dynamic and pitch between Irons and Campbell, the latter of whom, has lately all-too-often been relegated to Theatrical Release Limbo (Investigating Sex, Lost Junction, Too Smooth).

With Natalie Radford.

[See it if you must.]

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 12/20/03 20:32:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/27/13 ken whitmore brilliant on the art and hard work of writing 5 stars
1/06/05 tatum Nicely acted biopic 4 stars
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Directed by
  Henry Bromell

Written by
  Henry Bromell

  Jeremy Irons
  Neve Campbell
  Sissy Spacek
  Shannon Lawson
  Paul Hecht
  Natalie Radford

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