Review: The Last Right (2019)

The Last Right (2019)

Directed by: Aoife Crehan | 107 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Michiel Huisman, Niamh Algar, Brian Cox, Colm Meaney, Samuel Bottomley, Luke Hanlon, Sarah Caitriona Lynch, Cian Boylan, Louise Mathews, Kevin McCormack, Michael McElhatton, Brian Matthews Murphy, Jim Norton, Eleanor O’Brien, Aidan O ‘Hare, Bryan Quinn

A career-driven, attractive thirty-year-old takes his estranged autistic brother on a road trip for an unexpected mission. Are we dealing with the Irish remake of ‘Rain Man’ here? After about half an hour of watching ‘The Last Right’ you feel that way, but then the film self-consciously mocks itself by having a character pontifically refer to it. Fortunately, it doesn’t stop there, but the clever scenario has even more surprises in store for the viewer.

Daniel Murphy (Michiel Huisman) wakes up in New York with the worst kind of phone call you can get: his mother, who lives in Ireland, has passed away. Just before Christmas, Daniel flies back to his native country. On the plane he has an initially uncomfortable conversation with an elderly Irishman, who – how could it be – also goes by the family name Murphy. After an unexpected event on the plane, Daniel has to overcome several bumps before he is finally home.

Once in Clonakilty, in the south of Ireland, he sees his brother Louis (Samuel Bottomley) fifteen years younger. Louis is autistic, still in school and understandably affected by the death of his mother. She knew exactly which rules to follow to keep Louis calm. The simple service given to Sarah is already too much for Louis and he isolates himself. In doing so, he meets Mary (Niamh Algar).

Due to a confluence of not so obvious circumstances, this trio comes together to make a road trip. From Clonakilty to the North: Rathlin Island. Does this journey bring Daniel and Louis closer together? And will something beautiful blossom between Mary and Daniel? Asking the questions is answering them, because ‘The Last Right’ is a feel-good drama/comedy, where you can easily predict how the story will end.

Nevertheless, this wacky premise is enough to keep the viewer captivated throughout the entire runtime. The actors are more than skilled, even the supporting roles are impressive (especially the big-eyed Eleanor O’Brien who has a decisive role as just starting Garda); the jokes are sometimes laughable and Louis’s condition is approached respectfully. Despite the bizarre situations, you don’t see cardboard characters here, but people of flesh and blood, with all their quirks and good qualities. Touching in its time and beautiful Ireland just doesn’t claim the leading role enough to serve as a tourist commercial. ‘The Last Right’ offers a nice, warm escape from everyday life, for those who need it.

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