Last Goodbye review by Matt Fuerst


I would imagine any struggling young filmmaker has to give pause when writing a movie involving Hollywood. I would think that pause would be doubly long when trying to write a heartfelt story of loss, relationships and struggle when it involves famous Hollywood people. These pains are universal, Hollywood starlets even feel them (which one would imagine would be the point) however you walk a very thin line in losing people since it's hard to have empathy for someone viewed as so successful. Famous people are viewed not only as having all the money to take care of their worries, they are also universally adored by legions of fans. A lay person could well ask: "How could anyone ask for anything more?".

That said, I am glad that Writer/Director Jacob Gentry decided to set his film Last Goodbye amongst famous folk. The story is told out of chronological order, which makes a recap tough, but I will try to lay out the foundations for you. Agnes Shelby (Clementine Ford) is a famous, successful actress on a hit television show. In spite of her success, she is a very sullen and dour young lady. She has recently been in a relationship with rocker Peter Fitzpatrick (Liam O'Neill), but it ended badly. Floating on the edges of the story is Roland Lilack (Christopher Rydell). We have caught Roland with his mental breakdown already in full swing. Boozing, depressed and completely unstable, Roland literally and figuratively is stumbling his way through work and life, looking for a reason to live but thinking there isn't much of one.

Hurt from her relationship with Pete, Agnes on an impulse begins to fool around with Pete's bandmate, Seymour. Pete, of course, finds out and the band begins to unravel. Pete meanwhile, decides to numb himself from his own pain by hooking up with a teenaged runaway. Roland meanwhile, is hitting the apex of his mental breakdown. Drunk at work, he runs into the office of his boss, spies the picture of his teenaged daughter, and declares the daughter his "Angel, sent from heaven to save him". He grabs the picture and proceeds to run out of the office, getting tackled and beaten by his office mates along the way.

As I mentioned previously, the story involves the lives of famous people which can make selling their pain a difficult task. We have Roland thrown into the mix which gives us a nice balance between the famed and the common man, but you really connect and feel for all the characters in the movie. I know my synopsis above really makes Last Goodbye sound like quite a sad bastard flick, but I honestly didn't get that impression while I was watching it. Yes, the contents within are pretty dour stuff, but it's accomplished so well and presently so nicely you end up being enthralled in the story.

Last Goodbye has an interesting story, and is shot in a very compelling manner. Agnes' television show, in which she happens to be a vampire hunter plays heavily throughout the movie, in fact Last Goodbye starts with a long sequence from the fictional show. At first glance the show is eye-rollingly poor in its writing and quality, but in the end, it transforms into a meaningful metaphor to the movie, and life itself. Quite a clever way to move the story along and tie things together.

Last Goodbye has some interesting goodies that are all done in a very tongue-in-cheek manner. The film itself is fairly serious and dark in it's tone, so the comedic efforts in the Featurettes honestly took me off guard. We go into the special effects studio to see a scene get composted together. The special effects director says they start all special effects with a box model of the elements. They do this because (slight paraphrase) "everything in the world is composed of boxes". When asked where they hire people with special effects background, he says they hire people from FedEx, since they know their boxes. They're not the most informational Featurettes you've ever seen, but most movie nerds are already pretty familiar with how a green/blue screen works. Kudos for trying something a little different.

8 out of 10 Jackasses
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