Daniel Murphy (Michiel Huisman) is traveling from Boston to Ireland to attend his mother’s funeral when, by chance, a man with the same surname, Padraig (Jim Norton), sits next to him on his flight. When Padraig passes away on the flight, Daniel is mistakenly believed to be his next of kin, causing a series of issues for the already grieving individual. In addition to his plights with the dead body, he must find a way to convince his autistic brother, Louis (Samuel Bottomley), to move back to the United States with him and attend a new school. Writer/director Aoife Crehan’s The Last Right is the journey of Daniel, Louis, and their friend Mary Sullivan (Niamh Algar) through Ireland and the series of obstacles they must face on their way.
The Last Right is guided primarily by dry, dark humor, so dark in fact that some may actually find it a bit offensive. I, however, am not one of those viewers. From beginning to end, even in the darkest moments, I found the relationship between Daniel and Louis, as well as the passing of Padraig, to be quite funny. Huisman is probably best known for his portrayal of Daario Naharis in the hit show Game of Thrones, a series full of blood and gore. As a result, audiences familiar with his work may initially find it difficult to view him in this role. He’s required to deliver humor and levity throughout a series of dismal scenarios, which might strain credibility as he’s known as a bleak character on the HBO smash. Huisman, however, transitions beautifully into the role and effectively embodies all of the characteristics necessary to convey both humor and gloom.
“…traveling from Boston to Ireland to attend his mother’s funeral…”
While Huisman’s performance is truly brilliant, much of what Daniel is and becomes is a result of Bottomley’s stellar performance as the autistic and troubled Louis. Including a character of this nature in a comedy can present a number of difficulties for writers, directors, and actors. There is the potential for him to fail to mirror real-life difficulties and essentially offending viewers. Having worked with special needs children for some time now, I can say, with complete sincerity, that Bottomley’s portrayal of Louis is nothing short of perfect. The writing accurately depicts the troubles, mannerisms, and aspirations of such a person authentically, and the movie is certainly better because of it. Louis resonates with viewers as they are able to identify with his predicaments and understand that life isn’t always what it appears.
There is a contrast that lives within the story of The Last Right. It is both far-fetched and simplistic at the same time. Crehan is able to remind viewers that life is capable of throwing them a curveball but that one should remember the most important things. These lessons are evident in the denouement as viewers are reminded of both the beauty and the hardships that lie just beneath the surface of any situation. It’s often hard to see a film rounded out as beautifully as this. The filmmaker, however, takes everything that had been building for nearly two hours and threads them together in a picture-perfect ending that accurately concludes Daniel, Louis, and Mary’s story.
The simplicity of the movie allows viewers to understand and appreciate the sentiments present. The honest and useful lessons that The Last Right teaches, with the help of the talented cast, should be taken with audiences wherever they go. The comedic drama is insightful, touching, and relatable, permitting viewers the ability to resonate with its every line, moment, and character.
"…Huisman's performance is truly brilliant..."