Sunday, August 30, 2009

DVD: The Last Lullaby (2008)

The Last Lullaby is a throwback, deliberately so. It’s a taut, low-key crime drama, more interested in character than chaos, with the feel of a Gold Medal paperback. That may be to its financial detriment; the filmmakers ultimately distributed the movie themselves after a long run on the festival circuit. An upcoming DVD release should allow Lullaby to find its audience.

Max Allan Collins co-wrote the movie, based on his short story “A Matter of Principal.” Tom Sizemore plays a hit man settled into uneasy retirement who finds himself drawn back into the life, only to experience complicated feelings for the woman he’s meant to kill.

Lullaby benefits from its deliberate pace. That’s not to say that it’s slow, but that it’s set in a world where actions have consequences and the movie has the confidence to allow them to play out. Sizemore gives a revelatory performance as a genuine tough guy who knows he doesn’t need to shout in order to make himself heard, and there’s a delicacy to his scenes with his target (Sasha Alexander). Lullaby could also be eligible as the Best Foreign Film entry from America, a nation of highways and chain restaurants, of small towns with their own rhythms. There’s a scene where Sizemore’s character meets the man who hires him at his lake house. It’s not Hollywood’s idea of a big spread, but in plenty of places it’s exactly what a rich man’s digs look like.

Lullaby’s director Jeffrey Goodman has been chronicling the film’s release at Moviemaker magazine.