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Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez, and Anne Hathaway in The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)Review

The Last Thing He Wanted (Drama) (2020)


Director: Dee Rees

Writer: Marco Villalobos, Dee Rees, Joan Didion (Based on the novel by)

Stars: Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Mel Rodriguez

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The year is 1984 Journalist Elena McMahon (Anne Hathaway) writer for the Washington Post investigates the war crimes in Nicaragua executed by the US; garnering her quite some heat among her peers and politicians. Our main character has had a difficult life; breast cancer, involved in a political crisis and being divorced from her ex-husband and still trying to be a good mother to her daughter while swamping herself in her work.

During the process of covering her experiences and the situation in Nicaragua she gets pulled aside by her Editor in Chief who forces her to work on Reagan’s presidential campaign instead, becoming weary and jaded she has to agree, putting her in a compromising situation and to make matters worse her father Dick McMahon (Willem Dafoe) has to request she helps out with his endeavours as an arms dealer something Elena isn’t informed about before she decides to help out, now stuck in Central America she’s juggling her personal and professional life along with staying safe in this highly volatile situation.

What follows is a very well stylized, alluring film. Outfitting and cinematography are done exceptionally with a political and complicated story. Almost to complicated, Scratch that… Let’s just say too complicated, as the movie goes; it frequently jumps from one point to another with the story inadequately explaining both the narrative and character motivation. While playing subdued roles, Anna Hathaway, Willem Dafoe and Ben Affleck along with others still did great in the roles they were given, but without a proper script, it sadly collapses like a house without foundation.

Again the camerawork, set design, costuming and even the audio design felt great, but in the end, all of that just proves that without a logical script and structure you’re better just scrapping the entire project. With the long-running time, there is so much opportunity to explain the plot to the viewer and create an immersive story, but that just isn’t happening here; instead, you’ll end up feeling like something is missing.

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The last thing anybody ever wanted, and I hope that includes writer Joan Didion.