The Last Son, 2021.
Directed by Tim Sutton.
Starring Sam Worthington, Colson Baker, Thomas Jane, Heather Graham, Emily Marie Palmer, and Kim DeLonghi.
An outlaw believes he is cursed to be killed by one of his children, and so sets about killing them before the prophecy can be fulfilled.
In The Last Son, Sam Worthington stars as Isaac LeMay, a gun-toting outlaw who is told by a Native American elder that he is destined to be killed by one of his numerous children. Isaac has several children by several different women – mainly sex workers – and at the beginning of the movie we see him following his son Lionel (Colson Baker, a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly) before shooting him dead and moving on to find Megan (Emily Marie Palmer), his daughter from another woman.
Lionel’s mother is Anna (Heather Graham), a sex worker who tells Isaac that ‘there is no twin’, which angers Isaac and makes him cut off Anna’s thumb in a fit of rage. Turns out there is a twin, his name is Cal (also played by Colson Baker) and he is also a reprehensible so-and-so like his father, and once Isaac is convinced that Megan is not the child who will murder him he goes on the hunt for Cal as Cal goes on the hunt for his murderous father, all the while a group of bounty hunters – led by Anna’s lover Solomon (Thomas Jane) – are gathering their resources to hunt down and kill the ruthless LeMay.
A classic Western plot played out with a dense and moody arthouse sensibility, The Last Son has all the right ingredients for a modern update on a familiar story – a solid cast, spectacular cinematography, brutal violence, archetypal characters, ominous score – but somehow it just doesn’t come together to form anything as exciting as its premise would suggest.
Sam Worthington plays Isaac LeMay as a quiet, intense type and Colson Baker plays Cal a little broader and more vocal in his approach, but unless they are both onscreen together there is very little in the way of drama or suspense, which is a shame when the plot is rife for exploring the characters more and creating some thrilling action. Instead, the action is well shot and violent but doesn’t seem to generate the necessary levels of excitement that Sergio Leone would no doubt bring to it if he were directing.
The slow pace may give the audience time to look at the stunning vistas and sweeping scenery but the uneventful and occasionally uneven nature of the writing – yes, we know that Isaac is a bad man and his children are scattered around but several characters are randomly introduced and we have to put the pieces together to try and make out who is who and how they are connected – doesn’t add the necessary firepower to make The Last Son hold up as anything more than an underwhelming experience that never lives up to its promise.
But those gorgeous visuals are something to behold in such a low-key movie, and The Last Son will likely hold some limited appeal to Western aficionados looking to cross off any new titles from their watchlists as there are glimpses of what could have been peppered throughout the (deliberately) lethargic direction. Ultimately, however, The Last Son is a one-and-done viewing experience even for the hardcore, and for casual viewers looking for something on the streaming services that they haven’t seen before, it may not even make one complete watch before it gets swapped for something a little more gripping.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★