The Last Days of American Crime

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
The Last Days of American Crime Movie Poster Image
Graphic violence, sex, language in chaotic crime drama.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 148 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Cops are corrupt and criminals commit crimes just to be disruptive. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are no honorable or likable characters.

Violence

Shootings, explosions, arson, beatings, and torture all result in a high body count, lots of bloody faces, and general social chaos. A man kills his father with a tomahawk to the head. A man drugs a woman as he prepares to rape her, but she's saved at the last minute. A man is shoved through a closed car window. Dead bodies are strewn about with blood on nearby walls. A man's ear is sheared by a bullet.

Sex

A woman's breasts are seen. A man and woman have sex against a wall. A man and woman have sex; the woman is unclothed. References are made to a man who cheated on his wife. A woman lounges in undershirt and panties. Her nipples are visible.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," "c--ks--ker," "d--k," "p---y," "ass," "pissed," and "balls."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke cigars and cigarettes and drink alcohol. A woman is injected with an intravenous drug against her will. Cocaine is offered.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Days of American Crime is an extremely violent, extremely long (148 minutes) dystopian drama about criminals preparing for an Orwellian mind-control approach to crime prevention in the near future. People are beaten, shot, tomahawked, set on fire, and otherwise tortured, maimed, and/or killed. The FBI agents here are corrupt and blood-thirsty, and criminals operate freely in a lawless American city on the border of Canada. Major gangs are preparing last crimes before their brains are controlled by new anti-criminal technology. Men and women have sex and breasts are seen briefly. Adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, and one person is injected with an intravenous drug against her will before an attempted rape. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "c--ks--ker," "d--k," "p---y," "ass," "pissed," and "balls."

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What's the story?

THE LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN CRIME is based on a graphic novel by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini, bringing to the screen a story with a hazy outline on which violence and carnage are displayed at every opportunity. Career criminal Kevin (Michael Pitt) teams up with his crime boss dad's rival Bricke (Edgar Ramirez) to get revenge on his father. Kevin also wants to flip a final middle finger to the authorities as they are about to launch a mind-control crime-prevention ray called the API. With Shelby (Anna Brewster), the tough woman they share, they scheme to knock over a bank and steal a billion, then barrel through the Canadian border with an armored truck before the API takes effect and destroys their brains.

Is it any good?

Perhaps the novel on which The Last Days of American Crime is based hangs together more gracefully on the page, but the movie is a meandering, illogical, sloppy, and gratuitously violent mess. Director Olivier Megaton seems to be in way over his head. The actor playing the lead (Edgar Ramirez) is supposed to be American, but has an unexplained foreign accent, which seems intriguing but is left, well, unexplained. The leading crime family has a French name, Dumois, pronounced correctly by Americans, making this even more confusing. The movie seems to suggest that violence and guns are uniquely American and that escaping over the border to Canada will somehow put an end to a war between criminals and cops, as if Canada has no law enforcement.

At nearly two-and-a-half undisciplined hours, exposition goes on and on, with long monologues trying to explain incomprehensible backstory. Sometimes the voice of an unidentified female narrator pops up with a tidbit of information, as if at one point the director realized he had a lot of explaining to do, but the task was so overwhelming he just gave up. Subplots, like one involving a cop who gets his implant at the last minute, aren't just irrelevant, but also add unnecessary length to a tediously overlong script. Time might have been spent clarifying the role of counterfeit bills, or seemingly out-of-nowhere suicide pills that don't work, or why the API seems to cause excruciating pain in criminals, but then suddenly doesn't anymore. And how the heck did a man who was doused in gasoline survive a fiery explosion relatively unscathed?  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how movies use violence. Do you think the violence in The Last Days of American Crime helped tell the story, or were filmmakers more concerned with depicting the violence than the story?

  • Do you think this story merited a length of 148 minutes, or did that length reflect weaknesses in the filmmakers' storytelling skills? Why?

  • Can graphic violence make a film better or more affecting? If so, how? If not, why?

Movie details

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