The documentary “Last Call” points to the New England island of Nantucket and its once flourishing (now long since conquered) hippie counter-culture. Portraying the age as the island of Nantucket’s lost heart and soul, filmmakers John Stanton and Henri Ferrini attempt to illustrate that lost community just prior to its gentrification by the rich through the vehicle of another long since vanquished island pub called Bosun’s Locker. In this attempt “Last Call” performs a respectable if meandering service to its task.
“Last Call” is well-assembled digital video document of process offering an appropriate audio mix and palatable edits. Russell Baker’s familiar voice and some excellent landscape/time-lapse photography give the work additional street credibility. The use of film shot during the period helps to add depth to the ensemble of Locker patrons and adds fine visual insight to their progression in life. Even with solid narrative tone, the script provided ambles a bit about the island and its history. From the Whaling industry to Segregation and the dictatorial purchase of island land by an interviewed resident.
These testimonials, while often heartfelt, lead the story in a circular pattern through the quandary of Nantucket today. Interviews with island residents including David Halberstam, the Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author, touch momentarily on the problem’s genesis: MLK and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations, the loss of hippie (if not the Nation’s) innocence, the Dot Bombers compelled to edify new found riches in real estate et cetera. While a mix of island residents are interviewed, sometimes without attribution, the obvious story line never fully encapsulates the spirit of the community that once was.
“Last Call”’s discussion of parents not being able to maintain residences and seasonal help struggling to live on Nantucket due to the astronomical rise in land value gives way to a moment of clarity. If I heard the film correctly homes purchased 40 years ago for tens of thousands are now selling for a million plus. Madness. The madness of an innocent generation trying to enjoy a community only to fall prey to the consumption of America IS made disturbingly clear. For this, and “Last Call”’s observed brevity anyone with an interest in island living or the New England region will get a well digested sense of Nantucket and its native life.