The Last Job review – Richard Dreyfuss is a retiree on a rampage in muddled melodrama

The best thing about this crime melodrama is the score, credited to composers Shane Endsley, Ben Wendel and Nate Wood (all part of a jazz group called Kneebody); it is a weird, lilting horn-led underlay to the action, full of keening melodies with an urban, smoky nightclub vibe. It’s a delight – but seems to have almost no relation to the action we see on screen. You might almost imagine that the group’s work just happened to be what was playing in the editing suite when the film was being cut together and a quick deal was done to add class to what is a deeply indifferent, muddled drama.

Written and directed, somewhat ineptly if we are being honest, by Adam Lipsius, The Last Job tells the story of a retired mobster named Ben (Richard Dreyfuss) who now looks after his wife Nan (Megan McFarland) who has dementia, and runs a bar he owns with help from soft-hearted majordomo Tommy (Pruitt Taylor Vince). When someone breaks into Ben’s home one day and steals a considerable stash of cash from his safe, upsetting poor Nan in the process, Ben goes on a violent rampage to hunt down the perpetrators. Meanwhile, his daughter Nick (Mira Sorvino), a police detective who has bafflingly been seconded to take care of security for a congressman (DW Moffett) seeking re-election, has her own problems, including a sister dying of cancer who will leave behind young sons with unspecified special needs.

In a move that suggests more edit suite triage, the whole story is narrated by Ben, utilising Dreyfuss’ warm gravelly voice to intone deeply banal musings about life. This strategy doesn’t make much sense because half the action we see are scenes where Ben wasn’t present, thus violating the unspoken rule of voiceover. But narrative issues aside, this film is just a hot mess. The poor actors seem to be performing in quite different movies half the time, and it’s hard to work out what Lipsius is trying to say with all these maudlin, roughly sketched storylines.

The Last Job is released on 30 August on digital platforms.

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