18th Sep2020

‘Last Call’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Daved Wilkins, Sarah Booth, Matt Maenpaa | Written by Gavin Michael Booth, Daved Wilkins | Directed by Gavin Michael Booth

Where the hell do I even start with this review… I am sat here, about an hour after having watched Last Call. It took me about an hour to just relax myself, chill my nerves, remove my heart from my throat, for the goosepimples to die down and the hairs on the back of my neck to settle. Yes, Last Call took me down a path I am not overly sure I was ready for. A little while back I went to the cinema to see Joker, a movie that I have not been able to watch since, due to some of the content and how it hit way too close to home. Last Call didn’t hit me in the same place but my god did it hit me!

I was totally sold on Last Call from the premise alone – a two-shot, one-take with no fake cuts film sounded pretty bold and instantly had me hooked. Then I read a little about the synopsis and that this flick was aiming to bring attention to suicide during suicide prevention month and well… I’m going to keep it 100% with you and just say that this was something I just HAD to give my time and my attention to.

Beth (Sarah Booth) is a single mother working multiple jobs to make ends meet, always putting her family ahead of herself. Tonight she has had to pick up an extra shift at her night time cleaning job for a suicide prevention hotline center. Things are already a bit stressful and hectic when she finds that her son has not yet come home from the movies BUT things are about to take a turn… Scott (Daved Wilkins) is a man like any other, way down on his luck and looking to the drink to soothe his pain. After having seemingly lost everything and everyone he loves in life he has decided tonight may be his last. As a cry for help Scott calls a suicide prevention hotline and the call is answered by night shift cleaner Beth… Will this be Scott’s last call or is Beth just the kind of voice on the end of the phone that he needs?

Last Call will not be everyones cup of tea due to the nature of the story. It is essentially the story of a man who has decided to end it all and we are right there with him with an unflinching view. Internally as a viewer you are dealing with this aspect, trying to figure out what you would do or how you could help. However at exactly the same time on the screen we are given a character who is pretty much YOU. Beth picks up the phone not knowing what is coming, she has her own problems but is faced with how the hell does she talk someone down from that metaphorical ledge..!

Director Gavin Michael Booth has utilized a style of filmmaking I myself keep thinking is a bit of a fad; nut then Last Call comes around and Booth really changed the way I felt about this style. Our screen is split into 2 with Scott’s story playing out on one and Beth’s on the other – both are one continuous shot (no fake cuts) and it all plays in real time; which adds a huge level of tension to the scenes. For example if Scott hangs up and we see Beth scrambling to figure out what to do or what he is doing, we can also see exactly what he is doing leaving you screaming at the screen “Just call her back you damn fool!” or something to that effect. I cant stress enough how well this worked for me and really leaves you thinking once the screen fades to black.

Now… Sarah Booth… Holy shit. I am a massive fan of dialogue, as anyone who reads my reviews knows, but you can have the best dialogue ever and it still falls flat because you didn’t have a performer capable enough of making it believable, relatable or just downright realistic. Sarah Booth as Beth smashed this and you know what I am gonna say it… ONE single take with the intensity, the rawness and the emotional impact this actress portrays at certain points, always hitting her marks reacting to dialogue over the phone? She deserves as many awards as you can throw at her for this because, let me tell you, in the closing stages of this movie I could not bloody breathe, nor did I want to. I couldn’t swallow the lump in my throat and she made this humble reviewer squirt some tears. Let me be clear though, I take nothing away from Daved Wilkins because oh my days he sucks you right into his world – and I personally felt every single second of his pain. Both these performers and performances compliment each other perfectly and I cant even imagine the trust they had in each other, to not only get each other to that point, but to also maintain it till the last scenes. I honestly would love to know more about the process involved making this flick…

Then there is the third, and some would say just as important, character of the flick… Adrian Ellis’ score – which is absolutely stunning. There are times in this movie I didn’t know if I should be watching Scott, Beth or just closing my eyes and listening to the score. Name me some movies that made you feel that way about an original score, I reckon there can only be a few! Visceral is a word I rarely use especially about a score but damn there where times this music had me tensed up and tapping my feet continuously on the floor.

Everyone should check Last Call out – in fact they should be showing this in schools or help groups or just anywhere! This director and the writers have taken off the gloves and fed the world a harsh uppercut, with a swift one inch punch to the chest to follow up and absolutely smashed it. You are not going to find a more engaging and thought provoking movie this side of 2020. When a movie like Last Call comes round it is our duty to make sure people see it.

***** 5/5

Every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life. According to the WHO, 800,000 people take their own life every year- and the numbers are rising. In the US alone, suicide rates have increased significantly between 1999 and 2018 – in 2018, over 10 million American adults considered taking their own life, more than 3 million made a plan to do so, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.

To coincide with National Suicide Awareness Month, Mutiny Pictures and Alamo Drafthouse are releasing Last Call in virtual theaters across the United States from today, September 18th 2020.


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