Director: Danny Huston
Starring: Danny Huston, Sarita Choudhury, Jonah Hauer-King, Stacy Martin and Vincent Regan
Run time: 1h 25min
Switching between 1988 and 2003 and utilising some fascinating archive footage, The Last Photograph is an exploration of one man’s grief and his inability to let go of a past that is haunting his present. Tom (Danny Huston) is a cantankerous book-shop owner in London’s Chelsea Market. Shunning those attempting to get close to him, including best friend Mark (Vincent Regan) and well-meaning business neighbour Hannah (Sarita Choudhury), he wallows in self-pity, racked with guilt.
The reason for this? His son, Luke (Jonah Hauer-King) was one of the 270 people killed when Pan-Am Flight 103 was blown up by terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland. It was Tom who bought his ticket and he’s been struggling with grief ever since. When a random robbery from his shop results in the theft of the last photograph taken of him and his son, old wounds are reopened and Tom must confront memories he would rather forget as he desperately tries to get the picture back.
Danny Huston takes on directorial duties as well as the lead and he’s assembled an exceptional group of actors. However, his direction is not in the same league as his past performances, or indeed this one. It’s a nuanced showing and a convincing depiction of attempting to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, but behind the camera it’s a different matter with a confusing narrative not clearly distinguishing between the past and present day. Black hair dye is not enough to take 15 years off Huston’s age and the whole production somehow manages to feel like an overlong short film.
Simon Astaire penned the screenplay, adapting his novel of the same name and his script lacks the experienced polish needed in the transfer to film. Instead, what should be hard-hitting and poignant often comes across as melodramatic and subsequently misses its mark. You can see what is trying to be achieved, but it never quite gets there.
Despite an incredibly talented cast all deserving of better material, The Last Photograph is, sadly, underdeveloped.
The Last Photograph is available to download / stream from 26th April (from all leading digital platforms)