Netflix UK film review: The Last Days of American Crime
Mike Williams | On 18, Jul 2020Reading time: 2 mins
In case you thought Olivier Megaton’s dystopian near-future movie where criminal activity is on the verge of being eradicated is a storyline to mirror the current socio and political climate, The Last Days of American Crime is actually based on a 2009 graphic novel by Greg Tocchino. Yet that doesn’t stop it from feeling like a shoehorned adaptation to reflect the troubling times of today, despite there being relatively little in terms of promo for this lockdown release.
The film’s dire Rotten Tomatoes score of, ahem, 0 per cent, places it in an exclusive list of zero-percenters, but if you’re blissfully unaware of the stench around it, you’ll get a taste early into this two-and-a-half hour slog. TLDoAC desperately wants to be like some of its well-known, more successful peers, such as Children of Men, and fawns over elements of Blade Runner, Minority Report and The Purge with little subtlety. But instead of building on or working in any of these ideas, it merely offers displaced nods that, in truth, serve no purpose.
Lead Edgar Ramirez isn’t given a lot to work with by the sloppily stuck together script. It limps through each scene of dialogue with all the inventive flair of a slug. Graham Bricke (yes, that’s his actual name here) assembles a team to pull off the crime of the century and make it the last American crime before the government, in 2024, introduces synaptic blocker that will prevent anyone in the country from committing a felony. It’s a perfectly ludicrous concept that may feel relevant when it comes to addressing immigration, police brutality and a more overt authoritarianism than any of us are comfortable with, yet the film never appears at ease with itself; it constantly seeks to borrow, repackage and fluff the abundance of source material and subgenre aesthetic at its disposal.
While aforementioned classics like Children of Men feel stark, prevalent and painfully on-the-nose, TLDoAC is heavy-handed and clumsy as an attempted social commentary. It’s taxing to pick out anything it does right, let alone excels in. The most glaring cringe factor – besides the badly delivered dialogue and lack of narrative fluency – are its gratuitous sex scenes, which are so prolonged and needlessly voyeuristic you’d expect a teenage boy to have thought them up. Couple that with spliced subplots and unengaging characters and the whole thing comes off as muddled and uninteresting.
The Last Days of American Crime is a bloated, sluggish slog that flirts with good ideas but never capitalises on any of them. As an overlong movie that offers little in substance and leaves zero lasting impact, don’t expect a sci-fi thriller that exerts any fun.
The Last Days of American Crime is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.