HBO’s new Aussie true crime doc has 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and Netflix viewers are hooked
One of the things that makes me distinctly uncomfortable with true crime documentaries is that they often feel exploitative in a “let’s laugh at the crazies” kind of way. And it looks like a new Netflix document, Last stop Larrimahcould be in danger of falling into that trap.
The documentary, that one Decision maker Called ‘a character study of and love letter to Australians living on the margins’, it is providing much entertainment on social media and the crime at the heart of the show, the 2017 disappearance of a 70-year-old man and his dog is similar to the second make room for comedy.
Rolling stone describes the film, which first debuted on HBO, as a “wild and crazy” documentary in which a man goes missing and “damn almost everyone has a motive,” a show of “pungent misanthropy that plays like a Down Under version . a Coen Brothers fable”.
While “murder is of course no laughing matter,” the publication says director Thomas Tancred’s approach is “the stuff of deadpan gallows humor.” It adds: “You could say the filmmakers are making fun of Larrimah, but such a task requires little more effort than turning on the camera.”
Is Last Stop Larrimah insensitive?
The New York Times certainly thinks so. “The film resembles reality shows where innuendo and nonsense are linked together without knowing when to stop,” writes Nicolas Rapold. In the meantime, IndieWire suggests that while the filmmakers’ intent was not exploitative, “the local color shown (and what feels like) an hour-long film stretched into what feels like a series” was a “stab to create a to fuel a viral phenomenon’ as Tiger King“.
To be fair, many other reviewers loved it. RogerEbert.com said it is “a fun little documentary” and while it is repetitive and has “very few compelling themes”, it is “an enjoyable evening about a true crime”.
Screen daily thought the film was overlong but “definitely entertaining”, while Mashable says that “far from exploitative, this documentary is illuminating and digs deeper than the brutal news reports about pies and missing persons… Tancred recognizes their showmanship and charming eccentricities, but also that these are people who have experienced shocking loss.”
And that’s my problem too. I don’t want to see a show about pain that makes me laugh, no matter how strange or eccentric the people involved are, so it’s probably safe to say this won’t be included in our roundup of the best true crimes. shows on Netflix. Mashable says the film “balances a macabre sense of entertainment with a poignant sting of loss” and includes a section where a (real) news reporter chuckles “about murder and alleged cannibalism.” If that was a Coen Brothers movie I’d be all over it, but the fact that there’s an actual missing and presumed dead person here means I’ll let this one pass.
Last stop Larrimah now streaming on Netflix.