Last Moment of Clarity (2020)

Last Moment of Clarity reminds me of a hoagie sitting on a park bench.  That’s some weird imagery, but bear with me:  Stale and street-heated, its greasy wrapper flapping in the summer breeze, the sandwich slowly drips mayonnaise onto the sweltering sidewalk below.  Like that tragic garbage, Clarity just sits and rots in full view, a stirring testament to wasted time and carelessness.

Hopefully, all that flowery writing will steer you away from this cinematic hooey.  Now, the only reason to keep reading is because you love the quality of my words, which coat the brain like an electric blanket.  Or, maybe they’re a mug of hot cocoa, where the marshmallows bloop to the surface, like so much delicious flotsam.  Or, maybe they’re–

Shit.  Three paragraphs in, and I still haven’t said dippity doo about the movie.  Honestly, I was hoping you wouldn’t notice.  Well, if you insist:  Clarity intercuts between two equally boring timelines.  In the present, lumber-sexual Sam (Zach Avery) hunkers down in Paris to escape the death of his girlfriend, Georgia (Samara Weaving).  It seems that Georgia was once a struggling actress who perished in a suspicious apartment fire.  Pegged for the crime, Sam escapes abroad and determines to find the truth about what really happened to her.

The plot…thickens–I guess that’s the word–when Sam watches a new movie and spots an actress who looks just like Georgia.  Her name and hair are different, but otherwise she’s a dead ringer.  Could Georgia have faked her own death?  Sam decides to confront the mystery woman in Hollywood.  Gilles (Brian Cox), Sam’s kindly employer, warns that finding the truth could lead to his own destruction.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking:  He compared this movie to a nasty sandwich, but now it sounds kinda good!  And I get it.  Read between the lines of that description and you’ll see hints of VertigoRear Window, and Gone Girl all over the place.  But, keep looking deeply at your screen.  Eventually, you’ll see my boyishly handsome face, peering back at you with quiet disapproval.

Let me tell you why.  For any thriller to work, it has to have some kind of grip on reality.  Just about everybody can suspend some level of disbelief in just about every movie, but at some point it has to feel real enough for us to buy in at least a little bit.  In Clarity, every character dances like they’re on the end of a screenwriter’s strings.  Sam’s enduring love for Georgia doesn’t make any sense if he assumes that she’s still alive, because either:  A)  She framed him for murder to get a fresh start on her acting career.  B)  Someone else is responsible, and she’s taking full advantage and allowing Sam to twist in the wind for it.

Next, let’s talk about Kat (Carly Chaikin).  She’s a strong, smart, independent young woman who bumps into Sam during his journey down Stalker Street.  Oh, and by the way: She also went to high school with him.  Okay, maybe, maybe, MAYBE  I’ll go along with the filmmakers on that–even if it is pretty stupid.  But, Kat is the closest thing this clunker has to an actual human, yet the movie betrays her by forcing her into one false move after another.  From Kat’s perspective, Sam is either a murderer or a blithering idiot, so why would she waste time waiting for either outcome?

Finally, let’s bore down to the core of this rotten apple.  In the days of Alfred Hitchcock, I could run with the idea that someone could fake their death, fool the authorities, and frame someone else for the crime.  Nowadays, I’m afraid I’ve seen too many episodes of Forensic Files.  This movie goes even further into the ravine by possibly having that person become a big celebrity.  That’s in a universe of Facebook, Twitter, TMZ, and a million other ways to get up in your business-your biznass.  I ain’t buying any of it, no more than I would go for someone’s bench sandwich.  So, the next time you see this movie for rent, just think of old cold cuts and give Last Moment of Clarity a hard pass.

90 min.  R.

Author: Todd Wofford

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