Spoiler free synopsisThe Last Right is a charming Irish road movie by writer director Aoife Crehan. Michel Huisman (Game of Thrones, Nashville) is Daniel Murphy, an Irish-American who returns to Cork following the death of his mother, to be reunited with his estranged autistic brother Louis (Samuel Bottomley, Wolf Hall). Due to some fairly convoluted circumstances, they have to undertake (pun totally intended) a journey across Ireland to bring a body to Northern Ireland in time for a funeral.
Isn’t this just Rain Man?When I first saw the trailer, I was unsure if this would be for me. The circumstances where Daniel ends up responsible for a strangers coffin look pretty unbelievable. Two estranged brothers, one of whom is autistic, on a road trip just makes you think Rain Man, right? And Ireland is just too small for a road trip movie. I mean, have no lessons been learned since Leap Year?
The Rain Man elephant in the room is quickly addressed and then forgotten. There is a good idea to solve the ‘Ireland is too small for a road trip’ conundrum. The ludicrous McGuffin that drags Daniel, Louis and funeral home assistant Mary, across the country and provides the deadline is not particularly interesting and frankly doesn’t matter.
Does the road movie rise up to meet me ?The joy to be found in this movie is not in the plot. That’s just a device to assemble our unlikely trio. Then we can get on to what does matter. The relationship between the trio and the ghosts of the past. This is what Aoife Crehan wants to explore and despite my initial hesitation, what I wanted to learn about.
The corniest of road movie clichés that it is always about “the journey not the destination” but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Mary, played by Niamh Algar (The Virtues), is a great foil to the estranged brothers. Dutch actor Huisman’s slightly odd accent probably suits his character. It is Samuel Bottomley’s Louis that steals the show. Funny, sympathetic occasionally infuriating, he portrays Louis’s autism as part of who he is not, what he is.
I found it an engaging tale with excellent performances. Sure, the revelations on the road trip may not be that surprising but I think that’s because the well written storytelling had provided the signposts along the way.
At time of writing, this movie is already readily available in Europe but was just due for release in the US as the lockdown started so you may have to look around for it. I think you will find it worth the search.
You might like this if you enjoyed:
Rain Man, Local Hero