Too Late (2016)

Too Late Poster

Private investigator Mel Sampson is tasked with tracking down the whereabouts of a missing woman from his own past.

In the 2016 drama and neo-noir film "Too Late", director and writer Dennis Hauck develops a gripping tale based on private detective Sampson portrayed by John Hawkes. Set in Los Angeles, the film intricately weaves together 5 different stories that unfold in a non-linear narrative, all connected through a single character, Dorothy, a missing out on woman.

Including dialogue-rich scenes and 20-minute constant shots across five acts, "Too Late" has fun with time and sequence to paint a fascinating story of misery, remorse, and redemption. The film's main facility revolves around the complicated character of Mel Sampson, a troubled private detective entrusted with finding Dorothy, who has actually vanished inexplicably.

Each act takes place in a various part of Los Angeles, from the hills of Hollywood to a downtown strip club, to a decadent mansion, each setting contributing to the city's character and the movie's total state of mind. Each act also has its special story: murder, tape-recording sales, a reunion with an old enthusiast, and a strip club audition.

Besides Hawkes as Sampson, the cast includes Crystal Reed, Vail Bloom, Jeff Fahey, Robert Forster, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, and Dichen Lachman as Dorothy. Dorothy is a repeating existence throughout the movie, depicted as a young woman Sampson succumbed to but never had the chance to reveal his sensations. Reed plays Dorothy in the final act, revealing a much darker and sadder side of Dorothy's life and character.

Design and Technique
"Too Late" is understood for its special filmmaking strategy, using only 5 uncut 20-minute takes, a throwback to classical Hollywood narrations. These long shots are not only technically impressive but are stylistically relevant to the storytelling approach of the movie. Hauck manipulates time, story series, and plot information to keep the audience engaged, advising viewers to piece together the chapters of the narrative.

Through its complex story and compelling characters, "Too Late" explores themes of unrequited love, guilt, redemption, betrayal, and most intriguingly, the grim underbelly of Los Angeles' glittering fa├žade. The city of Los Angeles itself acts as a character within the story, supplying a backdrop that's equivalent parts attractive and seedy.

The unexpressed love in between Sampson and Dorothy drives much of the narrative, assessing Sampson's regret for missed opportunities. Sampson's mission for redemption is intricately tied to his look for Dorothy, acting as a catalyst for his journey.

In general, "Too Late" provides an intriguing non-linear narrative filled with endless suspense, fascinating characters, gripping storylines, and a vibrant depiction of Los Angeles. It sticks out for its use of constant 20-minute shots and a fragmented story that together creates an interesting blend of catastrophe, regret, love, and redemption. Through Sampson's character, the film explores how the past's unsettled emotions can profoundly form the present and future. Additionally, it's a tribute to classic movie noirs yet imbued with a fresh and contemporary perceptiveness.

Top Cast

  • John Hawkes (small)
    John Hawkes
    Mel Sampson
  • Vail Bloom (small)
    Vail Bloom
    Janet Lyons
  • Joanna Cassidy (small)
    Joanna Cassidy
    Eleanor Mahler
  • Jeff Fahey (small)
    Jeff Fahey
  • Robert Forster (small)
    Robert Forster
    Gordy Lyons
  • Brett Jacobsen (small)
    Brett Jacobsen
    Skippy Fontaine
  • Dichen Lachman (small)
    Dichen Lachman
  • Dash Mihok (small)
    Dash Mihok
  • Sydney Tamiia Poitier (small)
    Sydney Tamiia Poitier
  • Crystal Reed (small)
    Crystal Reed
    Dorothy Mahler
  • Rider Strong (small)
    Rider Strong