Waynesville Mail

From Illegal to Legal: a Captivating Portrayal of the Marijuana Black Market

MOVIE REVIEW
The Last Deal

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Genre: Crime, Thrille
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 31m
Director(s): Jonathan Salemi
Writer(s): Jonathan Salemi
Cast: Sala Baker, Gigi Gustin, Anthony Molinari, Kenny Johnston, Audra Van Hees, Conner Floyd, Mike Ferguson, Addison Bowman, Linda Burzynski, Sofia Masson
Where To Watch: Streaming now on Amazon Prime


RAVING REVIEW: Get hooked on the gritty and captivating crime thriller THE LAST DEAL, directed and written by Jonathan Salemi. Shot during the 2020 lockdowns on a micro-budget, the film follows the story of a marijuana dealer trying to keep his head above water after the legalization of marijuana. But when his last deal goes south, Vince finds himself in debt to “The Boss,” putting his pregnant girlfriend and friends at risk.


THE LAST DEAL offers a cinematic take on the struggles of marijuana dealers in the modern-day era. The film presents a sympathetic portrayal of the villain, showcasing Vince's desperate search for the next big score that leads to the thrilling crime aspects of the story. The realistic brawling and beatings will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. This film was shot on a micro-budget film, but I don’t think it felt like it. All aspects of the film felt like they could be right out of a movie with a more significant budget.

I enjoyed the film's opening, which was like a prologue to a book, setting the stage and detailing how we got to this moment in the movie; we then are flung straight into the conflict. Vince's character is the main focus here; seeing the evolution (or de-evolution) throughout the film made him someone that you wanted to side with.

The action scenes in THE LAST DEAL are raw, making you feel like you’re in the middle of this conflict. Anthony Molinari brings Vince's character to life, with his highs and lows, making the audience root for his redemption despite his mistakes. Even while the script suffered at times, you could still feel the heart of all involved, making the film more relatable.

The film offers a fresh perspective on the effects of marijuana legalization on the black market, making it a must-see for all. I support the legalization but hadn’t thought about this aspect, and it almost made the film feel like a documentary in some ways.

In conclusion, THE LAST DEAL is an enjoyable crime thriller. Considering its micro-budget status, the film is far more impressive than I had imagined. Its somewhat sympathetic “villain,” realistic action scenes, and compelling storyline are enough to keep the audience engaged throughout the film.

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[photo courtesy of L.A.N.E. 38]