A young woman replaces her father as projectionist at the theater. As her evening advances, patrons trickle in and settle down for a film, including one patron with less than good intentions.
Written by Manuel Facal and Maximiliano Contenti, from the latter’s original idea, with the latter also directing, The Last Matinee, or Al morir la matinee in its original language, is a film set in a giallo-tinge time period that feels like the late 70s, early 80s, but has a few items that will make viewers paying extra attention to details question what year it’s supposed to be taking place in. Those details notwithstanding, the film does great at setting up a universe that feels like giallo and looks like a giallo, so it becomes its own sort of giallo. There is a lot in this film, so paying attention to everything is important to fully see what is brought to the screen and how it was crafted. The story itself is pretty simple and unsurprising for most of the runtime, but it works. So, the film goes fully into this story and gives finished product that is enjoyable to watch.
The cast composed of Ricardo Islas as the killer, Luciana Grasso as Ana, Franco Duran as Tomas, and many more, shows an understand of the material and genre they are working in, giving performances that are appropriate to giallos and the time period represented. The work from Grasso is the central one and it shows great talent from her. The cast as a whole is interesting to watch, giving good performances all around.
The look of the film is where this one wins all the attention and accolades, the décor, the set design (except a couple out of place elements here and there), the costumes (getting nitpicky here, some are a little off from a historical standpoint), the way people carry themselves, the way they speak and interact, etc, all these things come together to create a world that works and one that makes sense in its sub-genre. The film uses all these elements to truly immerse the viewer into the story an makes it one that is fun to get into. Now, on a slightly less great part, the film within the film is mostly annoying, with scenes on the screen that come off wrong and gives a completely different vibe. This film within the film just does not work with the rest of the main event.
The Last Matinee is a fun watch of a modern-made giallo from people who have done their homework. There a few bits here and there that are a little off, but overall, it all works together and all comes together beautifully in a dark colored dream of a film that is rather easy to watch and want to watch again.