The Last Road refers to limbo. Literal limbo. Except it’s also a real place where the newly dead protagonist, played by Aaron Long, spent time while he was alive. Writer-director-photographer-editor-many other hats Wheeler never explains the rules of limbo very well. At times it’s a wonderfully imaginative spin on post-apocalyptic stuff. At other times, it isn’t. But Wheeler does really well during those scenes on the limited budget.
Even if he never does explain why the ghosts don’t just go back to houses and read books or something. There are books in limbo and the ghosts do read them. Doesn’t make sense they wouldn’t find more of them.
Except Long doesn’t get to limbo, problematic as it is, until thirty minutes until the film. Those first thirty minutes are about his living days, when he was a sociopathic fighter in an impoverished English town. Where he was abusive to his invalid mother.
Wheeler’s real obvious in Last Road. Long’s journey through the afterlife to find some humanity isn’t much of a surprise. And the “twist” ending isn’t a surprise.
It’s unfortunate the film didn’t start in the afterlife. By the third act, I’d forgotten how bad the living stuff got. Long couldn’t handle the role when he was the whole show. By the second half, he has sidekicks, specifically Laura Marklew, who’s excellent.
Wheeler’s direction isn’t great–he’s too stylized–but his editing and photography are fantastic.
Road’s too rocky, but there are good patches.
Written, directed and photographed by John Wheeler; edited by Wheeler and Laurence Williams; music by Mark Standing; production designer, Wheeler; produced by Williams; released by Striped Entertainment.
Starring Aaron Long (Toby), Simon Sokowlowski (Richardson), Laura Marklew (Larks) and Sarah Jane (Edith).
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