Atlantans say "Hello" with Goodbye
Review: Last Goodbye
Reviews Editor & Online Producer
|David Carradine doles out advice in Last Goodbye|
Note: Due to a change in the release date we were unable to review the DVD at press time. This review is of the original festival cut of the film.
Pop Films gurus Jacob Gentry (director/writer) and Alex Motlagh (producer) struck gold in 2004 at the Atlanta Film Festival. Their movie debuted in their hometown to much fanfare and praise. They were featured in Creative Loafing and the AJC. Local filmmaking finally was getting some press.
Over a year later, the press and accolades may have faded, but Pop Films has been working behind the scenes to let the rest of the country see Last Goodbye. Finally, on October 18, the DVD will see the light of day, courtesy of Warner Home Video.
For an Atlanta production company to score a distribution deal with Warner is no small feat, so it’s proper to say that these gentlemen, and their entire cast and crew, have earned it. It’s no coincidence. This film from a little production company in Georgia rivals and even surpasses bigger releases by Hollywood “indies.”
Last Goodbye has a serpentine plot that revolves around several seemingly unrelated people on a hot summer day in Atlanta. An up-and-coming actress, a rock band that’s falling apart, a lonely office worker and a troubled high school girl all have their individual problems, but we soon discover their connection as the film progresses in a P.T. Anderson-like meander.
There’s no plot to speak of, merely people trying to live their lives, but Gentry gives each a powerful yearning, a specific need, that is easy for us to associate. The plot becomes inconsequential. So, what sets this film apart from many other local films?
Let’s start with the look. This film looks great – professional and top notch. The camera movement, the lighting, everything has a unique flow and shows a passion for filmmaking. Credit needs to be given to Tom Bingham’s excellent cinematography and his gorgeous portrayal of Atlanta.
Secondly, the acting is top-notch. This is easy to see with a scene-stealing performance from David Carradine, not to mention an impressive cameo from Faye Dunaway. Even the film’s marketing “hook” – counting on the lineage of famous Hollywood actors by casting their children – works. Many local Atlanta actors fill up a good majority of the supporting cast. Though, you partially wish that maybe they’d get a little more screen time.
Living up to their name, Pop Films casts pop culture as Last Goodbye’s backdrop. From the Buffy-esque TV show that opens the film to alternative rock hipness featured on Ben Lovett’s score, Pop Films hits more notes than it misses. While the film may drag a little in the second half, Last Goodbye is definitely a great “hello” to the world of what Atlanta, and its filmmakers, is capable.
Michael D Friedman is an Atlanta screenwriter and filmmaker. He is a founder and co-president of the Atlanta Screenwriters Group.