Movie review of “Too Late”: Twisty detective story about a missing woman who shares a past with the private investigator hired to find her. John Hawkes stars. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
Photographed and presented in the dying 35mm format, “Too Late” seems made-to-order for the audience that craved — and didn’t get enough of — “Pulp Fiction,” “Jackie Brown” and Robert Altman’s California movies.
John Hawkes, Oscar-nominated for his work in “Winter’s Bone,” plays L.A. detective Mel Sampson. He sets out to find a missing woman who shares a past with him. Any further plot description would require a stern “spoiler alert.”
The script by first-time writer-director Dennis Hauck is just that full of surprises, twists and backward storytelling of the kind Quentin Tarantino proved to be a master of. Hauck is also addicted to long, sweeping Steadicam shots that require intricate choreographed movement. Think of Hitchcock’s “Rope,” Altman’s “The Player” and the most recent champ in this category, “Russian Ark.”
Movie Review ★★½
‘Too Late,’ with John Hawkes, Crystal Reed, Robert Forster, Joanna Cassidy, Jeff Fahey. Written and directed by Dennis Hauck. 107 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nudity, violence, rough language). Grand Illusion, through Thursday.
Hauck is scheduled to attend screenings Friday, April 15.
The results are uneven. Almost any scene with Hawkes is alive and satisfyingly showy. You feel his absence when he isn’t there, though Joanna Cassidy, Crystal Reed and Robert Forster all have their moments.
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And the music track makes a major contribution to the smokey-bar atmosphere, especially the Cowboy Junkies’ moody version of a Hank Williams standard, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”