Last Looks is based on the novel of the same name written by Howard Michael Gould and follows disgraced former LAPD detective Charlie Waldo (Charlie Hunnam). Waldo lives a secluded life in the wilderness to hide away from his demons and the city, but his solace comes to an end when an old friend and private investigator recruits him for a high-profile case. Waldo gets drawn into a mystery full of secrets, money, and the insanity of Hollywood’s rich and famous.
In Last Looks Waldo is investigating the case of a famous television star, Alastair Pinch (Mel Gibson), suspected of murdering his wife. However, Alastair, a black out drunk, can’t actually remember what happened on the night in question. In Last Looks, although not necessarily the forefront of the film, the sensationalization of the murder case is an integral part of the conversation.
The Illuminerdi had the opportunity to speak with Tim Kirksby, the director of Last Looks, about what inspired this sensationalization and performative aspect of the crime. Interestingly Kirksby revealed that Alastair Pinch was inspired by the O.J. Simpson murder case and the publicity surrounding it.
LAST LOOKS DIRECTOR REVEALS HOW THE O.J. SIMPSON CASE INSPIRED PART OF THE FILM
“It was very similar to the O.J. Simpson case where you have this high-profile sportsman who has committed a crime, or has he? And it was played out in the media. And you just did not know what was going on. It was very discombobulating. So, enter this character who is a dying breed. He’s slightly out of mode with the rest of what’s happening in the industry, slightly outmoded. A he was sort of based on an Oliver Reed sort of a Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton type of figure.
And all those guys are gone now, so Alastair represented this alcoholic, Brando-esq figure. Who is still working. It’s like when Marlon Brando turned up in the Island of Dr. Moreau and he was overweight and he that weird face mask on, and he was just weird. That’s kind of Alastair Pinch is at that point in his career. And because his wife has turned up dead, he’s the prime suspect. And because he is one of the biggest stars in the world, it’s played all over the media. And they don’t know what to do with it.
So, I can’t give too much away. But we spoke about that myself and the writer and it’s like the O.J. murder. It’s as big as that. He’s become a super celebrity through this horrendous crime. And its sort of like ‘Dead Man Walking’, it’s odds on that he’s killed her. So, this is like almost like a last-ditch attempt to uncover the truth.”
The O.J. Simpson trial overtook the media like no other crime truly had before becoming something much more than a news story. It set the tone for how so many other high-profile crimes are reported with news covering the case 24/7. And while this is not the main point of Last Looks, it is an interesting aspect of the story. The publicity surrounding the case inevitably leads to more danger for the characters and obstacles that make the mystery more difficult to solve, while never fully overtaking the narrative.
On the flip side, it removes some of the reality of the crime by instead turning the case into entertainment for the masses, with Alastair Pinch grieving widower or cold blooded killer as the star. The point is no longer the tragedy of the murder and finding evidence to prove who the killer is, instead the story is “television star murdered his wife.”
The sensationalization of murder and violence that ultimately turns a given suspect into a celebrity through suspected atrocity is a huge part of the news coverage today. Numerous programs continuously cover horrific acts and don’t treat them with the respect that these tragedies deserve. Last Looks manages to explore this in an interesting way without it overpowering the detective narrative.
Combining that notion with detective elements adds a layer of modernization to the noir style, including modern-day obstacles that only a high-profile case could create. Last Looks manages to not only deliver a noir mystery full of twists and turns, but humor, pathos, and an unexpected layer of social commentary that elevates the film.
Last Looks stars Charlie Hunnam, Mel Gibson, Lucy Fry, Rupert Friend, Morena Baccarin, Jacob Scipio, and Clancy Brown. Last Looks is written by Howard Michael Gould based on his novel of the same name and directed by Tim Kirkby. Last Looks is in theaters and available on video on demand now. Are you going to watch Last Looks? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media and check back with The Illuminerdi for more.