Directed by Brian Goodman, “Last Seen Alive” shows Will’s (Gerard Butler) amateur attempts at finding his estranged wife, Lisa (Jaimie Alexander), who disappears from a gas station. The film is not as bad as it seems. This is the best way to put it. A Gerard Butler-led thriller that suffers from a bland plot, “Last Seen Alive” is watchable only because of Butler. He is the only aspect of urgency in a film that requires many more, especially since we know that Lisa was abducted. There is no ticking time bomb. There is no call for ransom. There is no face from the past that has turned up for revenge. So, one cannot help but wait along with the protagonist to find out what’s going on. And it is this apparently eternal wait to discover the truth that takes a toll on the film. The film is not bad, but it is the actor playing the protagonist who adds to our expectations. These expectations extend beyond the plot and thus aren’t met. But then we cannot expect Butler to rescue POTUS everytime, right? Don’t know what POTUS is? Look it up.
Will and Lisa are married, but their relationship is strained. Thus, Lisa has decided to stay at her parents’ place for some time to clear her head of things. They are on the way there when their car runs out of gas, and they stop at a gas station. While Will fills the gas, Lisa walks inside to get water. That’s the last time Will sees her. After searching the entire station without any success, he notifies the police. Detective Paterson (Bill Hornsby) takes up the case. But after realizing that he cannot wait for the police to do their work in their own sweet time, Will decides to search for leads and track down his wife’s location all by himself. This is what the whole crux of “Last Seen Alive” comprises, i.e., whether Will is able to find his wife. And there is a certain dissatisfaction in knowing that he eventually will. But it’s Gerard Butler, and he doesn’t disappoint.
Butler takes center stage from start to finish in “Last Seen Alive.” The film shows him in a different light as compared to his usual action-driven avatars. The antagonists, if you can call them that, are given a motive, but it is bleak. A ransom of $2000 is fine, but there could have been more to it. An ex-lover, a family member, a competitor at work, something or the other could have propelled the motive to hit us harder and add to the satisfaction of the ending. The drug dealers have no idea what to do with Lisa so they just tie her up and keep her hidden. They deal in drugs but aren’t really gunners. In this way, the outcome became somewhat predictable, despite Knuckles saying that Lisa is dead.
All the actors play their parts satisfactorily, keeping in mind the duration for which they are on screen. This includes Jaimie Alexander as Lisa and Bill Hornsby as Detective Paterson. Director Brian Goodman, no doubt, has been able to maintain the tension till the end of the film by giving us absolutely no clue, not even a hint, about what happened to Lisa or where she is. We don’t see her until the very end. The film has a good build-up of events. But without Butler’s performance, the tension wouldn’t have been this palpable. So basically, one can say that Gerard Butler is the primary reason for the film being watchable.
“Last Seen Alive” is a 2022 mystery thriller directed by Brian Goodman and starring Gerard Butler, Jaimie Alexander, and Bill Hornsby.