Thursday, February 25, 2010


I finally watched The Last Lullaby by Jeffrey Goodman. The movie is based on The Last Quarry by Max Allan Collins, which I briefly reviewed in First and last.

Actually, as I understand from Collins's comments in Greg Ferrara's excellent and convincing review, Just the Two of Us: The Last Lullaby, it was co-developed from Collins's short story "A Matter of Principal", into a novel and a screenplay, much like The Sentinel was developed by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the novel, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie.

The Last Lullaby is a slow burn kind of crime story. The kind that is sadly almost never made anymore, but I dearly wish was. It's told largely in moments of characters thinking and reacting to one another in small pieces.

The action, or more accurately simply violence, is paced out, and because the characters are so well drawn, heart-wrenching and real. I bitch a lot about the pacing of movies these days, too many padding out their time with supposed character development that only amounts to people speaking out loud their motivations, and such. These characters speak for themselves, quietly and through their actions.

It strangely makes me wish it were the start of a series, based on the Quarry books, although it would obviously not be the place to start anyway. But it is that kind of terrific "leave you wanting more" experience that a terrific movie leaves you with.

For those interested in more review, I also recommend The Last Lullaby by Christopher Mills.

Frustratingly, the movie doesn't have wide distribution, and is still only available from the website. I hope people will continue to make a note of this movie and get it better distribution, because it is something that I think a lot more people would enjoy than are currently getting a chance.

As to wanting more, I have a copy of Quarry in the Middle and am looking forward to diving in, and expect to pick up Quarry's Ex later this year, and they will satisfy a part of that need. I do have to say that, considering the apparent success of the new books in this series, I wish Hard Case Crime, or some publisher, would also go back and reprint the early parts of the book series, however.

UPDATE: Just adding a link to Bogus Best Of’s…And Exceptions by Max Allan Collins, which discusses a conversation he recently had with Peter Biegen, the other screenwriter on The Last Lullaby.


Greg said...

Neil, I'm so glad you liked it. I always worry when recommending a small, quiet film that some people will be put off by it or bored. Not that you would be personally, I just worry about that in general. Recommending movies has burned me so many times before.

Neil Sarver said...

I know that feeling well, and I'm sure there are plenty who would complain about the pacing, the spare dialogue, etc., but I'm glad you did, because it really is a solid movie, a "they don't make 'em like that anymore" kind of movie.

And I must say, it was particularly admirable, since I think in a movie such as this, based a book that's written in the first person, there would be a lot of temptation to put words to a lot of the thoughts that one gets that way, and are entirely appropriate in that context. With this, however, just trusting Sizemore to portray them, and trusting us to watch and understand, makes for better cinema.

So, I'm very glad that you recommended it. Thank you.

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