While the number of movies available in wide release right now is limited, one new film hitting about 800 theaters on September 25 from Sony is “The Last Shift,” documentary-turned-narrative-feature director Andrew Cohn’s Sundance favorite. A minor-key seriocomedy set in the world of fast food work and led by Richard Jenkins as an aging worker and Shane Paul McGhie as his young protege, “The Last Shift” also stars Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Ed O’Neill. IndieWire shares the exclusive first trailer. Watch below.
Here’s the synopsis: “‘The Last Shift’ is an American story about two men struggling in the same town, while worlds apart. Stanley (Richard Jenkins), an aging fast-food worker, plans to call it quits after 38 years on the graveyard shift at Oscar’s Chicken and Fish. His last weekend takes a turn while training his replacement, Jevon (Shane Paul McGhie), a talented but stalled young writer whose provocative politics keep landing him in trouble. These two who share little in common are brought together through circumstance. Stanley, a high school dropout who has watched life pass by his drive-through window, proudly details the nuances of the job. While Jevon, a columnist who’s too smart to be flipping patties, contends their labor is being exploited. A flicker of camaraderie sparks during the long overnight hours in a quiet kitchen.”
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich reviewed the film positively out of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, writing, “‘The Last Shift’ is told with a light touch that allows the film to sneak up on you, and even its most painful moments are softened by heartrending solidarity; this ruthless tragicomedy of unexamined lives is so evocative of Alexander Payne’s work that he briefly considered directing it himself, and still maintains an executive producer credit. But Cohn is able to imbue it with an energy all his own. An experienced documentarian making his fiction debut, he attacks this story with a stiff but unforced approach; conflict doesn’t imposes itself upon these characters so much as it patiently waits for them to dig themselves into it, and each scene is cut with the droll mundanity of looking at routine American lives in extreme close-up.”
The film is also written by Cohn, with Alexander Payne and Lance Acord among the executive producers, and Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Sam Bisbee, Alex Lipschultz, and Bert Kern on board as producers.