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Movie Review: "The Last Photograph"

Movie Review: "The Last Photograph."
Photo credit:
"The Last Photograph"

Actor Danny Huston exposes a side of himself we don't often see in "The Last Photograph." Huston also directs and stars in this 85-minute moving meditation on love, grief and the search for peace.

When we first meet Tom Hammond (Huston), it’s 2003 and he’s a grouchy London bookstore owner. He has a testy relationship with Hannah (Sarita Choudhury), owner of the café next door. She keeps moving one outdoor table in front of his bookstore, he keeps moving it back.

One day two women blow through the bookstore like a hurricane. Tom is glad to see them leave – until he realizes his briefcase is missing. That briefcase contains one irreplaceable item: the last photo Tom has of him and his son Luke (Jonah Hauer-King) together.

Time (and costume styles) shift between two pivotal dates: 2003 and 1988 – and the time in between tells us the whole story: in 1988, Luke, a kid maybe in his late teens or early 20s – falls in love for the first time with a charming American girl he calls Bird (Stacy Martin).

That year, Luke was on Pan Am flight 103 to New York to visit Bird and her family when the plane went down over Lockerbie, killing all aboard.

Now it’s 15 years later, and a still devastated Tom has cut himself off from everything in hopes of lessening the pain.

Time frames are interwoven, as are camera techniques. Simon Astaire's brilliantly-written script offers sudden time shifts, black-and-white and color shots, even some blurry shots, and sudden unnerving emotional outbursts illustrating Tom's interior struggle.

How does one recover from such a loss? Astaire seems to suggest it’s not possible, while showing Tom at last carefully opening those slammed emotional doors to open up to Hannah, who offers the human warmth he’s lacked. Both offer masterful portrayals in this unique film.

This is an unusual and surprisingly engaging film. Much as I hate to say this, it’s difficult not to note the relevance of the plot. “The Last Photograph” should be seen widely.

This film is on VOD as follows:

DirecTV - Dish Network/Sling TV - Verizon Fios

Amazon Instant Video - FandangoNow - Google Play

Hoopla - iTunes - Vudu - Xbox - YouTube Movies