The Last Photograph
Danny Huston of the Hollywood Huston dynasty returns to directing, after more than 20 years, with The Last Photograph, a story of loss, grief and healing. Huston stars as Tom, a wealthy London-based American businessman who lives with his son, Luke (Jonah Hauer-King), who is in his late teens. When Luke falls in love with a young American woman, Kate (Stacy Martin), she invites him to New York for Christmas. Tom sends his son off at the airport, oblivious to the fact that this is the last time he will ever see him again.
The film flashes between 1988, in the final weeks of Luke’s life (as he meets Hannah, falls head-over-heels for her and celebrates the Christmas season with his father) and 2003, when Tom has left his job in the city to open a small, modest bookshop. When two petty thieves steal Tom’s bag, he makes it his mission to retrieve it, not for the £500 of cash inside, but for the last photograph taken of Luke. The audience soon realises the scope of the father’s grief and his subtle mania, as he fights to maintain his memory of his son.
This is an interesting and alternative cinematic perspective on grief. While it is usually presented in a more palatable format, showing funerals and people paying their respects, trying to make death as rational as possible, this is the story of one man’s journey of loss, alone, confused and disoriented – the last thing grief is is rational.
Although the portrait is extremely poignant, the film gets lost striving to reflect ordinary life, becoming overly artistic and ambitious. When Hannah introduces herself to Luke, he immediately says he’s going to call her “Bird” instead; when she asks why he replies “Because when you move your eyelashes they’re like the wings of a hummingbird.” It’s tone-deaf writing like this hampers the melancholic flow. The Last Photograph can’t seem to find a rhythm, with direction from Huston that is intimate and harmonious at times, but ultimately inconsistent, losing its intended emotional depth.
The Last Photograph is released digitally on demand on 26th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Last Photograph here: