TOO LATE at first glance has a very literal meaning, but in the indie film written and directed by Dennis Hauck being “too late” refers to life not time.
TOO LATE take the typical private eye genre tears it to pieces and reconstructs it into a series of vignettes where Hauck takes us on the journey’s of Dorothy and private investigator – Mel Sampson.
The first two vignettes reveal how Sampson finds Dorothy and plans to avenge her death. The final two reveal how Dorothy and Sampson are connected in a way, as an audience member you never see coming. Like they say in the film, “There are some people you don’t forget…only if you see them for a time or two…”
The stunning 35mm cinematography is fascinating and assists in weaving this tale by pushing the limits of filmmaking while supporting a gut-wrenching, no holds barred performance by Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes. We think we are watching the tale of a missing woman, but what we really witness is the portrait of a lost man in more ways than one.
Dorothy’s story is not so different than most young women who come to a large city like LA. The only difference is that she comes from an affluent family background and has chosen to not live that life, but make a living as an exotic dancer at a Gentlemen’s Club of sorts. The jealousy and disdain for her by a fellow employee kicks off s series of events that none of characters will recover.
Hauck’s weaving and intro of various characters throughout TOO LATE are ingenious, as is the manner in which we learn they are all connected.
Crystal Reed as Dorothy conveys the type of innocence, bitchiness and charm that makes you wonder if you should care about Dorothy or slap the hell out of her.
Natalie Zea as Dorothy’s Mom convincingly lets you conclude how Dorothy ended up where she did and Joanna Cassidy as Dorothy’s Grandma, as usual, realistically displays the type of blind love a relative has when they can’t or won’t face the grim reality of how jacked up their family is or how they contributed to the situation.
Dichen Lachman as the bitchy, jealous co-worker of Dorothy shows range that goes from pathetic to empathetic proving that she is a force to be reckoned with on-screen.
Of course, you can’t have a private-eye story without a little comic relief and the performances of Rider Strong and Dash Mihok certainly did not disappoint. Every moment they had on-screen was well received and milked for every second.
TOO LATE had its World Premiere on June 11th at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival. It is in limited release in Los Angeles this weekend and can be seen in NYC beginning March 25th.