LAST BREATH squanders its intriguingly bizarre premise about a misguided romantic who decides to commit a heinous crime to save his wife's life. "Beverly Hills 90210" star Luke Perry tried for a bit of a stretch with this thriller, but theatrical distributors weren't having any--the film
went the straight-to-video route in 1998.
Children's book illustrator Chrystie DeVoe (Francie Swift) has cystic fibrosis and desperately needs new lungs, but she has a rare blood type, and a potential transplant falls through. Her husband, Marty (Luke Perry) looks into the possibilities--both ethical and unethical--of finding a donor, but
what he finds out isn't encouraging. He takes a volunteer job with a blood bank and begins calling past donors with the correct blood type, eventually meeting a young woman named Gale (Gia Carides). They begin an affair, and Chrystie's editor, Edie (Hillary B. Smith) soon sees the couple together.
Though Marty denies Chrystie's suspicions, she takes to spying on him herself, and learns the truth.
After another argument, Chrystie begins to suspect what Marty's up to. Meanwhile, he has recorded Gale reading poetry and alters it to sound like a cry for help. Chrystie's condition worsens, and she tries to warn Gale, but can't bring herself to speak to the young woman. Chrystie soon collapses
and winds up in the hospital. Marty then puts his plan into action, breaking into Gale's apartment, playing her "call for help" to 911 just before she enters, and bludgeoning her when she comes in. Gale dies, and Chrystie receives her lungs--but her knowledge of where they came from has destroyed
her faith in Marty, and it is she who then takes a lover.
LAST BREATH was promoted as a thriller for its release on home video, but the script by director P.J. Posner and his brother Josh contains very few possibilities for suspense. It's clear early on what Marty's plot is, and Chrystie has it figured out by the halfway point, so one waits in vain for
new plot twists to emerge. Viewers will eventually become aware that the film is simply about the way in which the Devoes deal with Marty's immoral solution to Chrystie's illness. Yet Marty seems to have as few qualms about bedding Gale as he does about killing her, which not only robs his
character of necessary texture but quells the chance to identify with him.
Perry is good, given the severe limitations of his role, and Swift is appealing and sympathetic as his terminally ill wife. It is she who enacts the film's one effective moment of moral doubt, when Chrystie reconsiders telling Gale about Marty's plan--stopping at the moment that she imagines her
own death. LAST BREATH could have used more disturbing and effective moments like this. (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: LAST BREATH squanders its intriguingly bizarre premise about a misguided romantic who decides to commit a heinous crime to save his wife's life. "Beverly Hills 90210" star Luke Perry tried for a bit of a stretch with this thriller, but theatrical distribut… (more)