2.5 Hours Of Pain
The Last Days of American Crime is the perfect example of how not to make a heist movie. Lethargic, over-long and visually bland, this Netflix movie is the equivalent of looking forward to a roast dinner and being served under-cooked chicken and raw potatoes – if you consume it, you’re going to get ill. That illness comes in the form of boredom and it’s something American Crime should not have in such abundance given its intriguing premise. Clocking in at 2 and a half hours, this heist movie wastes almost every second of its runtime after a promising opening with a story that never really gets going and numerous technical mishaps along the way that make it difficult to find any redeeming features.
Based on the graphic comic of the same name, The Last Days of American Crime depicts a not-too-distant future where the US government plans to broadcast a signal dubbed “API” which make it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts. At the centre of this sits our moody protagonist, and brilliant heist engineer, Graham Bricke who’s haunted by the memory of his brother committing suicide in prison. A woman named Shelby Dupree approaches Graham in a shady bar and recruits him for a heist job – a job that’ll see them distract an API guard in order to steal a cool sum of money and escape to Canada before the signal goes live.
Of course, things don’t go to plan and it soon becomes clear that wildcard Cash, who tags along for the ride, may know more about Graham’s brother than he’s letting on while Dupree has her own reasons for the heist. As the film chugs along at a snail’s pace, the heist finally takes place and the result is every bit as predictable and mundane as one would be led to believe during the opening act of the film. It’s a shame too because the premise is actually a good one but almost every part of the film slips up.
The characters are unlikable, the accents outrageously bad at times and stylistically, the film is shot in the most frustratingly bland manner. During the scenes of Graham discussing what he needs for the heist the camera uses dolly movements around the parking lot while the trio walk together. This scene goes on for around 4 minutes and it’s screaming out for some hard cuts and pulsating music. Even Suicide Squad, for all of its problems, got this component of a heist right as we see stock images and a break down of what’s about to go down.
Another time, the camera remains in a first-person view during punches, which does little for the action and despite the intent of making us “feel” the punches, a third person view does much more to reinforce this. These are two very small scenes but when combined with every other scene in the film (which we won’t pick apart here. Unlike American Crime, we don’t want to waste your time) paint a pretty comprehensive picture of what not to do when creating this sort of movie.
What’s most unforgivable though is just how high the production value is in this. It’s amazing how such a high budget can be wasted and it’s reminiscent of that scene from The Dark Knight where Joker burns money infront of dumbfounded, incredulous gangsters. Only, switch out the gangsters for Netflix executives and you get the point. There’s little rhyme or reason for some of these pieces and the amount of money wasted on big set pieces far along down the line when most audiences have checked out, is more annoying than it should be – especially when American Crime can’t even get the basics right.
Overall then The Last Days of American Crime is not worth your time. The film is overlong, bloated and wastes its interesting premise with a story that just isn’t all that exciting. Do yourself a favour, give this one a miss.
Published: 07 June 2020 at 08:05am on