F. Scott Fitzgerald was a literary genius, 'The Great Gatsby' especially being a favourite. Despite a lot of them being criticised for straying from the facts, there are a lot of biopics (film and television) that are good and more. Although a curious choice for Fitzgerald on paper, Jeremy Irons is very rarely less than watchable and is often very good and superb even when having been in too many projects that he is well above and don't properly do him justice.
The premise was also fascinating, so they were more than enough reasons in wanting to watch 'Last Call'. Regardless of whether it is accurate or does much new for the genre does not matter, because on its own merits 'Last Call' is well worth the watch in my view and should be known more. It was a very interesting look into the life, mind and work of Fitzgerald, one that entertained, moved and educated me, and have finally seen a film with such strong potential with execution that actually lived up to it after starting to lose faith. Inaccuracy has been done far worse elsewhere, even though with liberties it doesn't feel like a distortion, and actually to me it doesn't play it too safe when it does things that few biopics on literary figures do.
'Last Call' to me was at its weakest in the scenes featuring Zelda. Sissy Spacek plays her very well, with the right amount of enigmatic eeriness, and makes the most of her short screen time, but it was a plot device that could have been delved into more and done more subtly. Also wasn't particularly illuminated by them, we learnt more about her when Fitzgerald talked about her to Frances in that one part than in all her screen time put together. That's my view though.
Was a bit mixed on the music. Really liked the choices of music and the Jazz Age style to it, especially at the dinner/dance, though was a bit disconcerted at first that the sound and music in the very first scene sounded like they belonged in a horror film (now know that this was a deliberate choice to convey Fitzgerald's disturbed state of mind at that point). Was less taken on how some of it was placed, do agree that it didn't need to spell out the characters' inner thoughts the way it did.
However, for made for television, 'Last Call' looks great. The period detail is lovingly recreated and it's atmospherically and beautifully shot. Henry Bromell directs with a low-key but never plodding touch, approaching the material with much sensitivity while giving enough of it punch. The script is clearly written with a lot of care and thought, while the story even when deliberate is compelling and doesn't depict Fitzgerald with bias. Showing him as a flawed and unpredictable person, with a complicated tormented mind that is delved into pretty harrowingly at times (had not seen drunkenness this harrowing in a while on film). But not a completely unlikeable one as the relationship between him and Frances is done with a lot of charm without any sugar-coating. A great thing because that aspect was so crucial it would have made or broken the film.
It is genuinely moving at times, did tear up at the end, while not falling into sentimentality. And there is also a surprising frankness that has a lot of impact but still done in good taste, especially when Fitzgerald tells Frances his thoughts on her story and suggestions of improvement. There we see how his literary mind worked and how he created his work and is just one of the scenes where the writing process is depicted. As has been said this is where 'Last Call' stands out and does better than a lot of literary biopics, and it is truly insightful.
Regardless of not particularly looking like Fitzgerald and being too old in terms of age (to me he looks younger than he actually was at the time, but that's probably just me), Irons gives a deeply committed and really remarkable performance full of both force and nuance as Fitzgerald, one of his best post-'Lolita' performances but inexplicably one of his most overlooked. A role that is a good representation of his strengths, Irons played tormented (and twisted) characters better than most actors and one can see that here, and did him justice. Neve Campbell gives one of her better performances here as well, anyone who has any doubts as to whether she ever gave a performance that showed she was more than a "teenage idol" sort of character should look here as she proves she absolutely could. Her portrayal is charming and sensitive and she and Irons work a dream together from their first scene to their last. Together they portray a relationship that is neither idealistic or acrimonious, where the two characters have respect for each other while voicing frustration on occasions too.
Summarising, very interesting and very well done. 8/10
Biography / Drama
Biography / Drama
Renowned writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is living the last months of his life with his youthful secretary, confidant and protege who later wrote a memoir of their time together.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 27, 2021 at 02:26 PM