Los Angeles is the star of "This Last Lonely Place," a noirish mystery about a cabbie named Sam (Rhys Coiro), his last night on the job and the corrupt banker, Frank (Xander Berkeley), he picks up as his last fare. Their evening of sharing back stories — that we later learn are cover stories — is chopped and twisted into a nonlinear puzzle that slowly reveals itself.
The film, written and directed by Steve Anderson, touts itself as being executive produced by the "Estate of Humphrey Bogart," and the setting of amoral characters driven by selfish motives is one in which Bogie would find himself at home. Sam, of course, pays proper homage, watching Bogart flicks in his seedy single-room-occupancy hovel.
Sam and Frank's ride is compelling enough, the two men slowly sharing histories as they motor around L.A., but soon, enter the femme fatale, Faye (Carly Pope), and all nuance goes out the window. The tale of broken men seeking revenge or redemption suddenly becomes a convoluted tale of who is cheating whom, and how, and out of what once the sex-crazed psychopath Faye is calling the shots.
The cryptic and mysterious story is crammed with overwrought issues — cancer, divorce, fraud, war — which the characters then over-explain. By the time the melodrama wraps up, "This Last Lonely Place" has done away with any of the subtlety that might be found in one of Bogie's classics.
'This Last Lonely Place'
Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica