Netflix movie review: The Last Thing He Wanted

June 22, 2020

ANNE Hathaway won the Oscar best supporting actress award for the 2012 movie, “Les Miserables”, but since then, she’s been doing nothing but unsatisfying roles in flops like “Song One”, “Don Peyote”, “The Intern”, “Colossal”, “Serenity”, “The Hustle”, “Dark Waters”, etc. She now stars in “The Last Thing He Wanted”, which wasn’t released in theaters  but directly went to streaming on Netflix even if it has a topnotch cast.  

The movie is based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Joan Didion (best known for “Play It as It Lays”) and Anne plays Elena McMahon, a reporter for the fictional Atlantic Post. She left her job covering the Presidential election in 1984 to take care of her sick father, Richard McMahon (Willem Dafoe), who’s suffering from dementia. 

In an extraordinary turn of events, it turns out her dad is an arms dealer for Central America and this is how she uncovers an international conspiracy involving the infamous Ollie North scandal where the U.S. is funding the Contras in Nicaragua. She then has to contend with spies, the military and other dangerous people that in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Miami that will put her life in great danger.  

Things get from bad to worse and the story gets murkier when she meets Treat Morrison (Ben Affleck), a top but shady government official she eventually goes to bed with and who, unknown to her, will spell doom for her as he has his own ulterior motives.

Directed by Dee Rees (“Mudbound”), the film has intentions of being a political thriller about a crusading journalist, but it seems something has been lost from its transition from the book to the big screen. The unwieldy script gets incoherently messy at times and ends up with a muddled narrative with many unresolved loose ends. 

The stars are wasted in their badly written roles that viewers cannot invest in, and the high stakes thrills you are expecting never really happen. To think Anne Hathaway, as a breast cancer survivor, even agreed to have a breast exposure scene here to show that one of her breasts has been mastectomized.

The only character we can truly relate with is Elena’s lonely daughter who always waits for her calls while she is in a boarding school. And when finally, we know that the call she is waiting for will never come, our heart really goes out to that little girl. But it is most certainly the last thing we wanted when we watched this movie.