Netflix’s The Last Days of American Crime Review

After almost a decade of development, The Last Days of American Crime, based on Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s graphic novel, is finally a feature film – though, ultimately, a hollow and unwelcome one.A huge argument could be made that this was the absolute wrong time for this film given its thematic adjacency to The Purge (though with a fraction of that franchise’s actual messaging) but The Last Days of American Crime is also overlong, grimly vacant, and an outright chore to watch. Michael Pitt’s crazed crook is enjoyable at times, as Pitt is often able to turn in eccentric-yet-nuanced performances, but the other characters are bitter, terse, and uninteresting.

Directed by Taken 2 and 3’s Olivier Megaton, the film looks slick. The money’s on the screen. The action is satisfactory, but if you’re in the mood for a shoot’ em up with thin characters then Netflix’s Extraction will provide a bigger and better bang. The Last Days of American Crime has a better (dystopian) hook, but it completely fails to capitalize on any of the themes and issues it introduces. The “police state/thought control” elements only exist as a backdrop for Édgar Ramírez’s brooding bank robber, Graham Bricke, and nothing more.

The Last Days of American Crime Gallery

In the near future, America has devolved into a police state on the precipice of unleashing a country-wide signal against its captive citizens that will prevent them from being able to break the law. The police are exempt from this, and a week before the sound waves are released, the nation is a crazed wasteland of lawlessness. Most everyone, it seems, is attempting to exercise their free will before it’s coldly taken away from them by the government. Bricke, one of the best thieves in the business, is all broken up not just because he and his kind are done for but also because of the death of his brother, who he’s told took his own life in prison. Bricke is basically given the bare bones of generic action (anti)hero. He’s the “responsible” one. He sulks. He loves his brother (who we barely spend time with). And that’s pretty much it.

Naturally, action leads don’t have to be the most dynamic part of their movie, but this film doesn’t compensate for Bricke’s blandness anywhere else. Michael Pitt’s Kevin, the moody son of a crime lord, is the only interesting thing to watch here as Kevin, and his main squeeze Shelby (Anna Brewster), convince Bricke to help them steal a billion bucks right as the clock turns 1984 and no one’s able to jaywalk much less steal – making it the final great heist in American history.

The premise is interesting enough that you can see why people have been trying to adapt it into a movie since 2009, but this is nothing more than a flavorless heist flick that grossly wastes its grander, darker ideas.And then there’s Sharlto Copley’s character, which goes absolutely nowhere. As seemingly the only cop left in the world who still cares about helping people, Copley’s Sawyer feels like he might be an important piece of the puzzle. We watch him in a separate story for most of the movie, as he’s looked down on by his fellow officers and possibly seeks redemption for a past misdeed. But when Sawyer finally intersects with the rest of the narrative in the third act, we get nothing. It might as well have been a random character who enters the mix.

At two and a half hours, The Last Days of American Crime is bloated and boring. Yes, of course an argument could be made that it’s not exactly an auspicious moment for a movie about America collapsing into a (slightly sci-fi) fascist state but it’s an even worse time for a film that has absolutely nothing to say beyond that and instead focuses on a vendetta and love triangle among the ruins.

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