Currently on Digital, Bluray and DVD from writer/director Andrew Cohn and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are two men doing THE LAST SHIFT.
It has been thirty-eight years working at Oscar’s Chicken and Fish graveyard and time for Stanley (Richard Jenkins) to retire. His replacement is Jevon (Shane McGhie) has a problem with letting whatever he thinks slide out of his mouth. Spending the weekend training the recruit, Stanley does not understand Jevon’s lack of enthusiasm.
Jevon tries to break it down to Stanley leaving the lifelong employee wondering if what he is saying could be true. Jevon has problems of his own with a girlfriend who is questioning his commitment to their relationship and their very young son.
Preparing to go to Florida to take care of his Mother and having a verbal tumble with Jevon, Stanley does something that is completely out of character. The effects of that decision will come to define everything for both men.
Jenkins as Stanley is a man who has accepted his life as being the graveyard guy at Oscar’s and occasionally hanging out with buddy Dale (Ed O’Neill). Thinking this is all life has to offer him, it takes a young man named Jevon to give him not only a reality check but a voice that does not seem to suit him. Jenkins once again turns in a performance that shows how this actor has always been slightly under-appreciated as far as I am concerned. Big fan here!
McGhie as Jevon is a young man who has found himself on the other end of the law, relationships, fatherhood and what his future needs to be. Always having an opinion and happy to share it whether its asked for or not, McGhie’s character is strong in that area of his life but needs some help with his emotions.
O’Neill as Dale is someone who has always been there for Stanley but does not really do a lot to support his decision to go to Florida. Also, a shout out to Allison Tolman as Evelyn, Jevon’s probation officer who realizes she knows this young man and wants to help if she can.
Other cast include Deron J. Powell as Perry, Julian Parker as Brandon, Tracey Bonner as Crystal, and Da’Vine Randolph as Shazz.
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Jenkins and McGhie’s performance of these two men starts out contentious, then moves on to charming, then gets tense and turns into something unexpected and sad. Yes, that’s all you are going to get out of me because I want it all to play out as director Cohn intended.
THE LAST SHIFT is an emotional ride through the lives of two people who are both disappointed by where they are and how they got there. They both also seem to be self-blinded by the possibilities of anything the future may hold. I think that is the saddest part of the film for me – that Stanley sees nothing else and Jevon only expects the worst in life.
The story does seem to rush through which makes it a little difficult to embrace each of these characters but, that being said, it is easy to embrace them together. Jenkins and McGhie are wonderful together and I will always be grateful to them for teaching me how to use a frozen hamburger patty correctly!
In the end – it was always more than a job!