The Last Son - The Last Son( VOD) [101 Films - 2022]
The Last Son is a 2021 western that is rife with brooding intent, tense with moments of stark brutality, and edged with traces of both post and folk horror. Here from 101 Films is a digital release of the film- and it’s fair to say it’s one of the more impactful modern-made westerns I’ve seen in some time.
The Last Son (aka The Last Son of Isaac Lemay) is the sixth film directed by Tim Sutton. His other credits take in Dark Night (2016) an arty-if-slowly harrowing take on a mass shooting, bare-knuckle fighting dark drama Donnybrook (2018), and gritty/ bizarrely charactered NYC set arthouse drama Funny Face (2020). The Last Son is very much of the grim, but often slow-paced variety of western. So don’t let some of the misleading trailers for the film fool you. As yes there are moments of action/ pace, which are often tipped with brutal- but mainly the film much like its lead character shambles and staggers along.
The film kicks off with shots of sun going western landscape- with a female voiceover detailing our lead character Isaac Lemay (Sam Worthington), a trapper who has been cursed by Cheyenne Indians. He is now wondering the land gunning down all of his spawn, as he’s been told one of them will kill him. We get our first sight of Isaac- a raggedly bearded, long fur coat wear, and ambling figure- as he emotionlessly guns down another one of his sons in nigh time fire lite forest. His next stop is a small western town where he interrupts the ruck business of prostitute Anna(Heather Graham). We find out she was one of the many women to birth his children, and he’s now looking to track down his last son Cal(Colson Baker)- who is a heartless outlaw, robbing banks to kill with no reason, coldly gunning down unexpected victims. As the film moves along, we find Megan (Emily Marie Palmer) one of Isaac's daughters, and brought up-by-Indians cavalry man out for vengeance Solomon (Thomas Jane) are added into the story.
The film is a largely winter set western, with the often-snowbound landscape filmed in a wonderfully brooding and stark manner. It’s scored with a mix of doomy bass frequencies, starkly clunking piano, and grimly chiming percussive textures. Worthington is most effective as the shambling and raspy-spoken Isaac, who may also be the devil in human form. Baker- aka lite punk rapper Machine Gun Kelly, is surprisingly very good as the shaggy blond-haired outlaw who has never learnt human emotion. With all of the supporting cast looking subtle weathered or battered/ rundown by the landscape and their lifestyles.
The film moves towards a tense, yet still grimly set showdown in a deep snow-bound western town. Though most of the film slowly trudges along, we do get brief spurts of action/ pace here and there. It runs at just over the hour and a half mark, and throughout I was well and truly enthralled by the brooding-to-cruelly bloody unfold of the whole thing.
If you enjoy your westerns brooding, grim, and foreboding- edged with often jarring and cruel brutality The Last Son will be for you. And I will most certainly be seeking out more of director Tim Sutton's output.Roger Batty