Last Moment of Clarity

 

                Sam (Zach Avery) is an American in Paris, but it’s not as exotic as it sounds.  He’s actually living under the radar, and has been for three years.  He works a couple of low-end jobs, delivering on his bicycle and cleaning up a bar/restaurant.  The owner, Gilles (Brian Cox) fusses at Sam about not doing anything with his life.  “Go find a girl,” he says.  “Go, do something adventurous,” he says.  “Go someplace warm, like Bali,” he says. 

                But Sam is stuck, not just physically, but emotionally.  He’s pining away after a girl whom he hasn’t seen in three years.  He keeps remembering them in the bathtub together, talking about how they’ll love each other until the end of time.  And then he wakes up.  We viewers only get hold of this story in bits and pieces, but there’s something about a fire, and an explosion, and a gunshot, and we’re not sure what happened, or how much Sam might be in trouble for it.

                But trouble finds Sam, anyway.  He’s hiding in the dark of a movie theater (remember those?), and on the screen he sees someone who he swears is the girl he thought was dead.  The one that he’s still obsessed with.  He tells Gilles that he can’t help himself, he has to go to L.A., right now. 

                But when Sam arrives, he gets two surprises.  The first is that he runs into an old friend, or actually, the younger sister of an old friend whom he used to play video games with as a kid.  He doesn’t even recognize Kat (Carly Chaikin) any more.  But she recognizes him, immediately.  She’s also intrigued by his breathless tale about trying to find that actress, whom he’s convinced is his beloved Georgia (Samara Weaving) from three years ago.   But the second surprise is that when he does finally meet the actress, she tells him she’s never seen him before, and to quit pestering her or she’ll call the cops.

                You would think that would be the end of it, particularly since Kat seems perfectly willing to step into the vacuum of Sam’s emotional emptiness.  But nothing is quite as it seems.  By the time we’re through, we’ve met some shadowy members of some Eastern European mob, with thick accents and quick trigger fingers.  We’ve found out that Sam was not quite as crazy as everyone else thought he was, and more resourceful than you would expect out of a bicycle delivery/mop bucket guy.  And the fickle allegiances of women, well, some of us never could figure that out.

                “Last Moment of Clarity” just might achieve what it promises in its title, but you have to pay very close attention at the end.  Like the characters themselves, you might miss something that’s been right in front of you all along.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association