Canadian Film Festival 2022 Selection: ‘The Last Mark’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

A self-loathing and aging hitman, Keele (Shawn Doyle), is tasked to kill a witness Peyton (Alexia Fast), but he quickly learns his new mark might be his estranged daughter. He abducts her in an attempt to keep her safe from his maniacal associate (Bryce Hodgson). Keele struggles with this new parental responsibility of keeping her alive. Whether she’s his daughter or not, she acts like a carbon copy of the person he hates the most: himself. What director Reem Morsi explores in The Last Mark is one’s ability to redefine who they are and how people perceive them. The story begins as a thriller but then sinks into the anxiety of putting on a facade for others to accept you.

Watching Keele and Peyton get to know each other through very odd circumstances, the bond between them gets interesting. From the beginning of this film and the way it is structured, Keele doesn’t want to hurt Peyton because he thinks that she is his daughter. Even though his hitman tendencies overtake him while he treats Peyton like a hostage, he slowly starts to warm up to her. Keele’s journey is really interesting because of how his connection to his possible daughter has him contemplating if this business is even worth it anymore. He doesn’t want to harm her or let anything happen to her, so he ends up protecting her from his former business partner. The story is strong and really develops nicely over the runtime.

What really worked was the build-up to the third act. Even though it mainly takes place in one location, the tension builds because of the level of trust between Keele and Peyton. Their relationship is explored, while his former partner is trying his utmost to find them and kill the girl. Peyton did witness the two of them murdering someone, and now his partner wants her dead. Realistically, what would the girl have done if she fled the scene? I’m sure she wouldn’t have said anything right after running away and having the two of them chase her. Keele and Peyton’s relationship which is solely based on learning to trust the other in such an odd circumstance really became the heart of this film and worked for a really strong ending.

The Last Mark has interesting character dynamics and an individual journey for one hitman. It had good pacing and an almost father/daughter relationship that carried the second half of this film. There was a great use of colors and lighting throughout the film to represent the dangers of being with a hitman and what they’re capable of. Plenty of reds was used to show this and it added to the chaotic atmosphere that Reem Morsi created. The third act was filled with tension and the finale was well worth the wait. Really enjoyed this feature because it felt different and the chemistry between the hitman and his possible daughter made for a fun watch.

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