With westerns seemingly back on trend director Tim Sutton has taken Greg Johnson’s simple, yet interesting premise and produced a slow-burning, grim and gritty film that barely scratches the surface of its potential. The Last Son is styled as Western Gothic, no doubt attempting to emulate the success of The Power of the Dog, blending elements of the supernatural with a miserable, grubby realism that every western is duty bound to include.
Yet it’s a rather dull affair as the meandering narrative struggles to assert any sense of jeopardy or intrigue, hindered by poor performances and a predictable plot.
Cursed by the Cheyenne that he will die at the hands of his seed, Isaac (Sam Worthington) mumbles his way across the plains killing his offspring. Ignoring his daughter Megan (Emily Marie Palmer), he seeks out his son Cal (Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly), a murderous bank robber who Isaac believes poses the greater threat. Salomon (Thomas Jane), a military tracker, is also on the trail, cultivating a relationship with Cal’s mother (Heather Graham) in order to discover his whereabouts.
Cinematographer David Gallego sets the camera up perfectly, capturing the striking wilderness and expertly framing the actors in a landscape of hostile beauty. But this only highlights an unfortunate comparison between the barrenness of the location and the lack of depth in underwritten characters whose lives intertwine through complicated contrivance.
With this cast, an idea full of potential, and filmed in a harsh but cinematic Montana, The Last Son possesses the ingredients to be so much more than it is. Yet scenery aside, it is largely an arduous, unrewarding watch.
THE LAST SON is out now on digital.