One Last Kill (2005) – By Timothy Martinez

 Cable access television. The name conjures up visions of low budget productions shot in someone’s garage a la the famous Wayne’s World skits on Saturday Night Live. Other things that may spring to mind are woefully unfunny comedy shows, roundtable discussion platforms for every group imaginable from Atheists to Young Republicans to Atheists who hate Young Republicans as well as every other hate group one can think of…and of course, porn. These are things that may spring to your mind, but I wouldn’t know. The public access in my area only seems to show boring crap like civic meetings at city hall to discuss the placement of new stop signs throughout the area. In other words: Zzzzzzz. If something like the events portrayed in One Last Kill were to make the airwaves in my region, it would be seen as a distinct improvement (though maybe slightly less violent than those shouting matches that occur at city hall).

The cable access program in One Last Kill is yet another one of those aforementioned roundtables, this time chaired by a psychologist and featuring two others in his field of study. The chairman is an enormous jerk, dismissing the thoughts and ideas of the others and obviously more concerned with how he looks on TV and what the show will do for his image and career. The subject they are discussing is Curtis Starks (played by the film’s writer and director Rusty Williams), a death row inmate that was scheduled to be executed a short while before the program was to air. Before his death, Curtis was given the opportunity to explain his actions to the world and get everything off his chest. To this end he was placed alone in a room with a video camera in order to document his final thoughts.

The film spends it’s first portion alternating between footage of Curtis’ recording and the three psychologists, who discuss what Curtis says in these moments. The chairman is of course, dismissive of the ideas brought by the other two, but especially of the one who actually knew Curtis and worked with him. The recording takes an unexpected turn towards the end and just as the three are discussing what appears to be Curtis’ final moments, he appears from a hiding place, having faked his demise. He now takes control of the situation, the three psychologists and the lone cameraman now locked within a sealed room with him. He has a few things he wants to say to them and more importantly, games he wants them to engage in. The tables have been turned on those who thought they knew it all and more than one secret will see the light of day.

Apparently shot on single set and with a running time of one hundred minutes, One Last Kill might ordinarily sound like the type of film to skip, but I must say that my interest was firmly maintained throughout the entire length of the film. This very much is due to the strong writing and performances. Without interesting characters, believable dialogue and more importantly, an engaging narrative, any film is going to quickly become an insomnia cure. Not here. Yes, the film has a low budget, but the people really come to life within. This is no more true that the main character of Curtis Starks himself. I must congratulate writer/director/star Williams of pulling off some great writing as well as a frightening performance as Starks – a killer that is definitely different from the norm. Here Starks admits to what he does. In fact, honesty is a very important character trait in his eyes and it will come into play during the film’s second half when he runs the others through his hoops. Starks doesn’t try to excuse his actions and this openness, coupled with his anger issues makes him both a sympathetic character as well as one to be feared.

The film unfolds quite skillfully and any apparent plot holes are dealt with and explained in a satisfactory manner. The cable access setting and sparse set design most assuredly adds to the realism, and one could easily imagine themselves viewing these events on their own TV. The ending will be seen ahead of time by the more alert and attentive viewers, but this in no way diminishes the impact. Indeed, this film is all about the ride and not the destination. The journey is where we learn our lessons in life and Curtis Starks has a few lessons he wants to impart before this particular ride is over.

To learn more about the film and/or to order a copy for yourself, be sure to visit the film’s official website at http://www.onelastkill.com.