Last Lullaby, The (DVD Review)11 Sep, 2011 By: John Latchem
$24.98 DVD, ‘R’ for violence and language.
Stars Tom Sizemore, Sasha Alexander, Sprague Grayden, Bill Smitrovich, Jerry Hardin.
The Last Lullaby is a quietly effective pseudo-thriller about two socially isolated people falling in love through an awkward courtship, with the caveat that he’s a hitman hired to kill her. The film could be considered almost sweet if its characters didn’t have a nugget of ruthlessness at their cores.
At the heart of the story is Sarah (Sasha Alexander of “Rizzoli & Isles”), a shy librarian trying to reclaim her life by testifying in court against the man who killed her mother when she was a girl.
But let’s back up a bit. The movie begins in somewhat amusing fashion with a retired hitman named Price (Tom Sizemore), who’s so bored that he occupies his time late at night wandering through convenience stores. He stumbles upon some incompetent kidnappers, kills them all and saves the girl they were holding for ransom. Price ends up selling her back to her father, a man named Lennox, for a healthy profit.
Six months later, Lennox finds himself at the wrong end of Sarah’s court case, and needs her eliminated, so he hires Price. It’s a good payday for Price, but as soon as he sees Sarah’s photograph, he’d rather do her than do her in.
He stalks her, studies her and lucks out when he gets a chance to beat up her ex-boyfriend, who’s harassing her at a bar. She’s immediately smitten by her new white knight, but he doesn’t quite know what he should do, and her smile is so inviting you understand his frustration.
Of course, Lennox isn’t patient enough to let him work out his moral dilemma, so he hires a second hitman to speed up the process, and Price switches gears and becomes her protector.
Alexander gives an understated and restrained performance that makes Sarah sincere and believable. After she’s attacked the second time, she starts to panic like anyone probably would, and in her frazzled state overlooks the coincidence that this new man in her life as jumped to her rescue twice within a few days. But the movie also knows she’s smart enough to figure something must be going on, and she and Price resolve to turn the tables on their attackers.
Her predicament raises a few questions. Is the case she’s involved in really strong enough against the accused to justify his motive for killing her? And one of the replacement killers is a guy Lennox was using to resolve the daughter’s kidnapping at the beginning, which makes you wonder, if Lennox has a regular guy, why he needed to hire Price in the first place.
Just as these plot holes start to nag, the movie piles plot twists on top of plot twists to keep viewers guessing and makes it seem that it might answer some of these questions by the time it’s all done. It all feels like it should lead to one big final twist, and a lot of big-budget noirs probably would have taken that route. But Last Lullaby plays it more or less straightforward, ending more on an ambiguous character note than really trying to punch the audience in the gut.
The DVD offers some extended scenes of character interaction that don’t add much to the narrative, a brief behind-the-scenes featurette consisting of interviews with the cast and crew, and some text notes about the camera style.