THE FINAL MISSION by WINSTON JAMES

Directed by Winston James / Reviewed by Adva Reichman

The Final Mission provides a look at the life of three criminals, with the leader on the run who will stop at nothing to avoid his one true fear – going back to prison. We begin the film by following Crane (played by Amadeo Fusca) as he enters Lex’s new hideout. Lex (played by Jas Anderson) is the leader of the gang and was raided by the police where he lived, barely escaping. Anxious, he’s searching for the man who ratted him out, desperate to stay free and out of the police’s hands.

Lex points a finger towards Crane, but in this world pointing a finger means pointing a gun. And so, we watch a beautiful mind game where fear, power and aggression all play a part. The question is – who’s the better player?

After Lex searches Crane for a wire and finds none, Crane deflects the blame. He plants doubts in Lex’s mind and in ours and suggests another suspect we haven’t met yet – Lex’s cousin, Dante. 

Dante (played by Clinton Lowe) arrives, and Lex, who has no idea who to believe, points a gun at both. Fighting for their lives, the men blame each other. But in this world of crime, who can you believe and what do you even have if trust and loyalty are gone?

Walking in to a scenario he wasn’t aware of, Dante is in a clear disadvantage. Lowe’s acting is on point and so the viewer finds himself concerned about the criminals he usually wants to see behind bars. Crane demands Dante remove his jacket, so Lex can check if he’s carrying a wire.

Dante and Crane’s reactions and demands trigger our alarm as we are also trying to find the real culprit. Just as we think we have it all figured out, the director surprises us and the plot thickens.

Most of the film takes place in that room and that is where the director’s talent shines. He takes that small room and manages to use it for his own advantage. Letting us know the state our characters are in by changing the way we perceive the space. The great location sells the world and the thought-out direction and composition strengthens the script.

A wire is discovered in the room. A wire means betrayal and betrayal equals death, and so in a dramatic tense scene we see Lex executing the man he holds responsible. Lex is now painted in a whole new light. It’s not the tensed criminal we saw at the beginning. Now, he’s the guy who puts his money where his mouth is and shows he is a cold-blooded killer. 

The drama is far from over as all of the sudden the other gang member runs out of the room. Supposedly, had he stayed, Lex wouldn’t have suspected him any longer. I can only assume the director chose to up the tension by having his survival instinct kick in and run.   

Lex hunts him down and we reach the ultimate tension as the police breaks in. Although the new space is larger than the former, James makes it seem exposed instead of free. He does a great job using the new location to close in on Lex and make us feel like he has nowhere to go. The director takes us into Lex’s mind through the unique editing and sound; along with the various close ups on his face, guns and handcuffs.

It is because James took the time in the beginning with introducing Lex and explaining his motivation that we are fearful of his next step. We’re left guessing if he’ll be able to overcome his anxiety and act with reason and wonder what will happen to the other criminal. All that while the well written score accompanies the crafted cinematography and increases the anxiety.

As the pressure grows, James spices things up and provides a powerful scene that reveals what we wanted to know all along and changes what we thought we knew.

‘The Final Mission’ will definitely make its creator proud. The drama, action and thrill are vivid and strong. The viewer is in for a ride.   

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