This Western, which has hints of the Oedipus story, is elegantly composed and quietly paced, though the slower beats tend to work against the more predictable bits, as well as its confusing parts. The Last Son positively luxuriates in its Western setting and sounds -- the snow gradually falls and builds as the movie goes -- and it has some of the coolest cowboy costumes in a while. The pacing often lovingly emphasizes the movie's atmosphere. But at other times, it lets loose with a sudden surprise, such as a scene in a bar, when a loudmouth makes a rude comment about Cal's mother; we expect the typical punch in the face, leading to the typical barroom brawl, but instead, Cal stabs the man repeatedly, to stunned silence.
There are other surprises, too, as when characters whom we expect to survive are suddenly cut down. But the ending is far from a surprise, and, in fact, the movie telegraphs it so obviously and so far in advance that you have to wonder why. Other parts are just baffling, as when Cal creepily rips his mother's lingerie from her shoulders, revealing her breasts (it's Oedipal ... but why?). In another scene, Lamay -- who's more frequently referred to as "the Devil" -- lies bleeding and beaten by the side of the road, and comes face to face with Cal; the scene comes to nothing, but a few minutes later, the Devil is back up, setting traps and killing several people. All in all, The Last Son is great to look at but not so great to watch.