Last Call pitches itself to audiences with an intriguing gimmick. Shot in real time, the film’s story is told from two perspectives – using a split-screen technique to divide the pair of one-take shots. However, Last Call is more than a crafty production with a trick up its sleeve.
Beth (Sarah Booth) is a student working an overnight custodial shift. Scott (Daved Wilkins) is a depressed alcoholic who is having doubtful thoughts about his life. The two accidentally meet on the phone after Scott calls a suicide prevention hotline but dials the wrong number. The conversation starts off cordially, although Beth is distraught as she expects an important call. But as time passes, after they both unwind to each other about their own struggles, Beth realizes the weight of Scott’s desperation.
Last week, I reviewed another Canadian indie that told a story about human connections as a way of personal growth (The Meaning of Life). Taking that idea even further, Last Call proves that not only are these personal connections imperative, but some people need the engagement to survive.
Last Call doesn’t lean on its technical strengths to get by, or puts pressure on its actors to carry the movie (although Booth and Wilkins hold a tight grip on the audience). Instead, director Gavin Michael Booth (The Scarehouse) uses the film’s uncut nature to authentically capture an establishing relationship. Sarah Booth, in an amazing performance, faces a daunting challenge of executing a character arc that requires her – in different emotional states – to go from being a stranger to being an unlikely saviour.
Last Call reads on paper as a low-key drama/thriller ala Searching (and the film certainly embraces some of those traits in the final act), but it never loses its significance. With discussions of mental health becoming more frequent in this day and age, more people look towards the media for assistance on how to confront and respond to these issues. In that context, we need more movies like Last Call.
Last Call screens at Toronto’s The Royal Cinema on Sunday, October 6 at 1:00 pm.
Purchase your tickets here!
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie