“The Last Run” (1971)
Richard Fleischer’s “The Last Run” is composed, by Alan Sharp, in that spare style of writing that is meant to invest a greater chimerical meaning to every utterance, and by extension of its obvious pretensions (as reflected in the marketing campaign), to conjure the mythic brand of faded machismo popularized in the writings of Hemingway. That it succeeds at all in this somewhat foolhardy aspiration is entirely due to the presence (if not entirely the performance) of George C. Scott.
Harry Garmes (Scott), an American expatriate living in Portugal, has been retired as an underworld getaway driver for nine years, and is suffering through the kind of psychic malaise that seems prevalent among movie criminals who brace themselves for “one last score”. When he is contacted to drive an escaped convict into France, he accepts the job, but it proves to be an unexpectedly dangerous assignment fraught with double crosses which are never adequately explained, but are probably meant to be more representative of the inescapable but enigmatic forces of fate which dog the popular existential gangster figures emerging from the Nouvelle Vague. Sharp’s script clearly wishes to celebrate the world weary manliness of 1940’s noir infused American cinema mixed with Melville inspired minimalism, but the film never gets its bearings, as the narrative is paralyzed; continually muddled with a surfeit of stylistic mutism.
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