Too Late full movie review - Gumshoe genre jigsaw in sumptuous filmstock conceit = for cinephiles only?
Since so few reviews on this, and I had been fortunate to get the chance to see it shown, thought I should add another: as I understand that the director, Dennis Hauk having m
ade it in now becoming so rare 'celluloid' filmstock (at 35 mm, too), also 'directed' it should only be released and shown in circumstances that would do it justice i.e. only at theatres that can still project film, and not appear in any digital - homes' use DVD etc ? format: so for that alone, for any cinephile, cinema fan, it should be sought out.
And indeed, by which to savour a rapidly becoming bygone experience, that of the rich colours and softer visual tones that original filmstock undoubtedly allows for ? close up, big screen skin tones, especially ? beauty, as of 'main' (?) actress, Crystal Reed, but plus including all their imperfections too, viz grizzled Robert Forster: .. and not only that, but delivered through another cinematic speciality, in that it unfolds in five continuous standard reel lengths (c.20 minutes) each (as like Hitchcock's famous attempt in 'Rope'); these all self contained vignettes of a whole, which you must slot together in the right order to get the plot line: but perhaps it is for these technicalities alone that is all this film really has to offer, to stand out worth a watch: in that being not, I would argue as others have (carelessly?) assessed, a film noir (which, come on, just has to be in even older traditional black and white? - whereas this is sumptuous colour) but is actually, of the 'gumshoe' genre. In which respect, lead player John Hawks turns in a superb suitably shabby performance.
But these conceits in effect restrict the format so much so that it soon becomes clearly - stiltedly so in some dialogue exchanges, and despite, admittedly impressive fluid camera movements - so theatrical in parts, since although the camera can move about within its 20 minute (2000 feet) of film allowance, still the actors have to deliver their lines correctly to ensure the take is not ruined of course, which results in the theatrical staid like (no second take) delivery in certain segments: yet, that should be the advantage of film over theatre: that the plot and lines unfolding can so be cut and edited up to more replicate a real life style.
In this respect, then some is just a little too obviously staged: e.g. the 'I'll just sit down and impromptu strum the guitar and sing' scene, where even a background violin player just happens to similarly impromptu accompany, are really only for the effect of 'wow didn't they choreograph that well?', I feel. On the other hand, another of these uninterrupted unspooling vignettes ends in an impressive shock scene (although you can see the set up telegraphed coming, half way through its 'reel') and another centred around a fast, if not already gone, disappearing into history drive in, showing a homage to film itself, in just incidentally involving how the huge horizontal reels used to be operated, is pleasing to see utilised.
Otherwise, to be honest, the conceit soon becomes too contrived, so much so to begin to (irritatingly?) distract you from what should be the engrossing story, not constantly being sidelined by intrusive clever cinematic camera direction, because you are in on the way it has been made. (Big kudos though to those steadicam operators!)
Then, as for the 'essential to the plot' reason dishabille of Vail Bloom portrayed, is (if undoubtedly insouciantly sexy) surely simply quite gratuitous! And for all the one continuous take bally ho, there is at the close, an obvious cut / edits ? almost as though they had run out of time, manoeuvring to get across to the audience how it all fits together ..
Clever ? very clever (and film stock soft attractive) ? but ultimately, unarresting.