The most obvious thing to ask Dennis Hauck about his superb neo-Noir, TOO LATE, is his decision to tell the story in a series of five 20-minute long continuous takes. So, when I spoke with him on February 26, 2016, that’s the first thing brought up. I was curious both about what those takes could convey that nothing else could, and why he would want to put himself through it. One of those takes involves star John Hawkes moving from the bottom of a hill and hitting his mark miles away in a state park on cue and ready to react to the murder that he will be investigating for the rest of the film.
Stunning is a word that is overused in film criticism, but if anything deserves that description, it’s that.
We went on to discuss the psychology of space, the subtle implications of power in relation to the state of undress of its female protagonists, and why he chose to turn down outside distribution and stick with a 35mm release.
TOO LATE is a neo-noir about long takes, savage humor and wistful melancholy. Hawkes plays Mel Samson, a Los Angeles private eye with an unfortunate sense of timing and a case that turns out to be too personal as he negotiates the traditionally seamy underbelly of the City of Angels. Told with a timeline that thumbs its nose at the time-space continuum, it considers the difference between vices and habits, reveals the long term toxicity of secrets, and asserts the impropriety of adding cranberries to a chicken salad sandwich. The film co-stars Robert Forster, Jeffy Fahey, Joanna Cassidy, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Rider Strong, Dash Mihok, Dichen Lachman, Crystal Reed, and Vail Bloom as the woman scorned. Hauck directed from his own script, and this is his feature film debut.