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THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY [Chicago Critics Festival 2024]

Written By:

Anthony Oleszkiewicz

A modern piece of Mexican standoff/bag-of-money cinema, The Last Stop in Yuma County immediately recalls the works of the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino.

When a petrol station in the middle of nowhere runs out of gas, a cast of gun-toting gangsters and not-so-innocent civilians find themselves stuck in a nearby diner together. The tight, suspenseful script starts slow but ramps from suspense to action, with a few twists to keep the audience on their toes. When the jukebox plays and the slow motion starts just as the tension is at its highest, there’s nowhere you’d rather be than glued to the screen, waiting to exhale.

Unfortunately, Last Stop lacks the colour and the spark of those early works in the same genre. Rather than the frightening blue hues and personal camera of Blood Simple or the rock n’ roll zip of the set design in Pulp Fiction, director Francis Galluppi keeps a modern, static look to the whole thing. The washed-out digital desert of Yuma County lacks the personality of those films made on celluloid. This fun mix of clichés and archetypes never really has a strong viewpoint on itself. Although the script’s multiple facets of suspense are a great ride, you won’t walk away with a character as distinct as M. Emmet Walsh’s Blood Simple detective or even Billy Bob Thornton’s brother character in A Simple Plan. There’s no personality or heart in the filmmaking except what has been brought in from other movies. Viewers will be able to tell it is Galluppi’s first feature, as the main talent he’s brought to the film is forgery.


Anthony Oleszkiewicz

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