The Last Client Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Deluca Film
Directed by Anders Rønnow Klarlund
Written by Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich
2022, 95 minutes, Not Yet Rated
FrightFest UK Premiere on 27th August 2022
Signe Egholm Olsen as Susanne Hartmann
Anton Hjejle as Mark Zidenius
Dan Zahle as Bjørn
Sara Fanta Traore as Johanne
Working overtime has never been so traumatic as it is in Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich’s The Last Client, in which a psychologist stays late for the most traumatic hour of her life. After her diary is found at the scene of a serial killer’s latest murder, Doctor Susanne Hartmann (Signe Egholm Olsen) should be on guard. However, when the killer himself (Anton Hjejle) turns up as her next client, she is caught unawares.
Held hostage in her own office, Susanne is forced to give serial killer Mark his audience. And, with a head full of mommy issues and misogyny, the killer has plenty to talk about. Certainly more than the paltry hour that the Doctor’s calendar permits. He’s not budging – and nor is Susanne – until the psychologist has spilled some beans of her own.
No stranger to the gory crime thriller (publishing crime books under the pen name A.J. Kazinski), Karlund and Weinreich have constructed a chilling, unpredictable game of verbal cat-and-mouse here. Olsen and Hjejle are well-matched as the psychologist and the serial killer, with the latter turning in a spectacularly creepy performance as the monster of the piece. Hjejle holds her own against the scenery-chewing villain, even if the story doesn’t require much more from her than confusion, terror and relatively typical damsel-in-distress stuff. For a seasoned psychologist, Susanne’s voice doesn’t have much sway, making the pair’s battle of wits disappointingly one-sided. It’s ultimately another horror film about a woman being tied up and menaced in her underwear.
If its leading lady’s lack of agency leaves a sour taste in the mouth, swathes of the audience will be even less thrilled by the killer’s obsession with motherhood and, more controversially, certain alternatives to motherhood. There’s also a sequence late in the film, which wouldn’t be out of place in something by Brian de Palma (specifically Dressed to Kill, if you catch my drift) but may be a struggle for some at this time. The Last Client gives ample reason to be disliked by those who may be turned off by that kind of thing.
However, there’s no denying its effectiveness, either. After the hackneyed setup is done away with, this hostage thriller gives way to something more unpredictable and unbalanced. Delving deep into the killer’s psyche gives Olsen even more to work with, and the film its sharpest ideas. Disturbing, but the time is well-spent.
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