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A lonesome cabbie, on his final shift before leaving the job in his rear view, picks up as his last fare a hypertensive businessman who draws the driver into a neo-noir featuring all of the elements of old-school suspense: deceitful dames, guns, and dead bodies. This Last Lonely Place is never quite as gritty and unrelenting as its aged predecessors, but it's a fine film in its own right, on its own terms.
Sam Taylor (Rhys Coiro) plans to fly to Hawaii in the morning to connect with his ex wife and their two young daughters. He accepts a call from dispatch to pick up a guy at LAX, an investment banker named Frank Devore (Xander Berkeley). Devore has no destination in mind; he just wants to drive around for a bit, and he pays Sam handsomely. The two men sort of bond, with Devore eventually spilling the beans about what has him in such a tizzy - he's worth hundreds of millions and has a princely part of his wealth right there with him. He's just waiting for a call to come through, and when it finally does, we meet the final cog in our (mostly) three-person wheel: Faye Gardner (Carly Pope).
Faye and Frank are clearly up to something, and the initial plan of having Sam drive them to the Van Nuys airport is put on hold. As Sam slips deeper and deeper into their plot, he realizes he's being used a pawn - but by whom? That there are double crosses in a movie like this should come as no surprise to anyone. The story plods along for the first twenty minutes or so, and then it really kicks into high gear - particularly when Faye shows up. Her arrival brings with it a much-needed tankful of adrenaline. Up until then, it's just all about Frank crying into his whiskey about how bad things are.
At any rate, there are a few twists that, given the number of characters, one could foresee - but that's not to say they're implausible or otherwise anticlimactic. There are some possible lapses in logic, though. At one point, two people each have a gun, and the plot demands that one of those people have both guns. Not just the plot, but the plan. But the gun switches hands only thanks to something that could not have been foreseen by the, uh, plan maker. So how was that person planning to get the gun from the other person? You see how I did that without spoiling things? For a neo-noir movie, This Last Lonely Place seems absent of some of the cinematic touches - hard angles and stark photography. If I had to compare the movie's look with anything, it would be a late-night Cinemax quickie. Not a deal breaker, because the acting is certainly solid, particularly from Pope.
This Last Lonely Place's noir bona fides are evident, considering the theme of betrayal and the fact that it was produced by The Bogart Foundation - yes, Humphrey's estate. Kind of lends some panache and verisimilitude to the action.
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