“The Last Days of American Crime” is a bad as you’ve been told it is. Having suffered through its unnecessarily long runtime, it may even be worse than described. There are so many things wrong with this film it is hard to put into words. However, the more warnings given to avoid it the better. There are a lot of arbitrary achievements for films, some coveted and others avoided at all costs.
This film has earned the unfortunate achievement of a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. While most films don’t deserve such a low critical response, this one does. “The Last Days of American Crime” is the worst film I’ve seen this year, and I’ve seen “Verotika.”
The film is inexplicably based on a graphic novel of the same name, and does no justice to wanting to explore its source material. It takes place in the not too distant future where the American Government plans to launch a signal that inhibits the ability to break the law. Bank robber Graham Bricke (Edgar Ramirez) is approached by a mysterious man named Cash (Michael Pitt) who has one last job before the signal goes national. In a race against time, he must pull off one final score and rush to freedom across the border to Canada before his enemies close in on him. If this was all the film was about, it probably would be a serviceable action film.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t begin to scratch the service of the convoluted story and multiple subplots with no pay off. Even the protagonist changes close to halfway through the third act. At best, a film like this should have a runtime no longer than 90 minutes. Instead, it thrusts upon its viewer every single angle it can think of to bolster a 2 and half hour runtime. To put this length into perspective, “Avengers: Endgame” which sought to wrap up 10 years of filmmaking is only 30 minutes longer.
Among the many problems this film has, one glaring issue is that its so bleak in its content and grit that you’re left with nothing to enjoy. Overblown plots aren’t unique to this film, but because it gives us nothing to root for and no one to care about, it amplifies the glaring plot and pacing issues. It is rare for a film to have so many characters and not a single one be interesting. There isn’t even an element of “so bad it’s good and/or funny” that a lot of these “worst of” films tend to have. The film is just bad, and fails on every level of filmmaking. When it finally came to its conclusion, I felt more defeated for having experienced it than happy that it was over.
Lastly, the films backdrop of riots and crime and policing is extremely ill timed for its release. Given the current state of things, this film should have stayed vaulted until its setting isn’t as relevant. Ultimately, there is no good time to release a movie dealing with a Totalitarian American Government utilizing police violence against its citizens, but Netflix is partly to blame for releasing it at the height of turmoil in America right now. There are better ways to deal with these kinds of issues, and this film does not do it well, furthering its need to not be available for public consumption. No matter where you fall on any of the current issues, this film’s setting is not good for anyone right now. It is not trying to tackle these issues as a social commentary, it exploits them in the worst of ways.
For a more extensive review (including a spoiler section that seeks to unpack the impossible plot) check out the Cineblokes review from The Jack of all Nerds. There is also a “Verotika” review so you can better understand the scope of bad films I’ve seen this year.
I cannot stress this enough: avoid “The Last Days of American Crime” at all costs. The Netflix movie catalog is vast, and its best to let this one fall down the ranks to obscurity. Do yourself a favor watch anything else.