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Too Late

Los Angeles crime story, told in long single takes and out of order

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Dennis Hauck’s neo-noir follows a rumpled Los Angeles private detective named Mel Sampson (John Hawkes) on a missing-person case. A familiar story, but juiced up with some gimmicks: The story, shot on 35 mm, plays in five out-of-order, 20-minute continuous takes. The jigsawed story has enough clues and markers (mostly injuries to bodies and cars) to help sort out the timeline. The script — a jumble of strippers, estranged relatives, nightclubs and criminals — tries to make its various femmes fatale interesting, but the strain shows, and most of the actresses remain barely dressed. Too Late has a 1970s smog-and-sunlight vibe — this is an L.A. full of broken souls and poetic degenerates, and the PIs who sort through them. It’s on the knife’s edge between taking itself seriously and parodying countless similar works. Your mileage may vary, but I’d have preferred a fresher story over a clever but self-conscious presentation.


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