TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Happy Oliveros, Carlos Gonzalez, and Victor Ernesto Baro are incredibly talented baseball players who, on paper, look guaranteed to make a big splash in Major League Baseball. The aspiring pros have been training all their lives to ensure that they have the ability to make it in the big leagues and support their families, but there is one thing standing in their way: they are Cuban citizens. Due to government rules and regulations, the three potential stars are not allowed to travel directly from Cuba to the United States, making their journey far more difficult than most professional athletes in the United States. The Last Out tells the story of these three individuals as they pair up with Cuban-American sports agent Gus Dominguez and do all they can to ensure they find success for themselves and their families.
Directors Michael Gassert and Sami Khan, who also wrote the documentary, invasively follow Oliveros, Gonzalez, and Baro into their homes. The filmmakers do a wonderful job of exploring the nitty-gritty of the athletes’ daily routines, showing the toll they pay. Gasset and Khan find a balance between being in the way and removing themselves from the story and are able to continuously provide interesting coverage of this journey toward baseball glory.
“…aspiring pros have been training all their lives to ensure that they have the ability to make it in the big leagues...”
As evidenced by one particular aspect of the narrative, it is clear that the filmmakers desire to get the truth out there rather than provide a simple feel-good story of rags to riches. That element is the tertiary story of agent Gus Dominguez. There is something about Dominguez that feels off, and it puts audiences at unease. There always appears to be something going on behind the scenes that the cameras are unable to capture, and the beauty of The Last Out is revealed. See, even though Khan, Gassert, and the rest of the crew are unable to record every single moment of everyone’s day, they are able to bring to light some of the things that take place in the shadows without being manipulative or forcing their views on everyone watching.
The Last Out is well crafted and engaging. It will primarily appeal to viewers who have an understanding of and appreciation for baseball, but the dramatic tale regarding Dominguez opens it up to other audience members as well. The directors do well to ensure that their project reaches as many viewers as possible by contorting the content present into something more enjoyable without falsely shifting the narrative. The story of these three athletes with big dreams is truly incredible and will open viewers’ eyes to the hardships faced not only by international players trying to make their way in American sports but all athletes.
"…well crafted and engaging."