The Last Hour is crawling with shamans, dead people, soon-to-be-dead people, and people who refuse to stay dead. Combining the supernatural and crime genres, the first season of the Amazon Prime Video web series wavers between make-believe and plausibility for much of its duration. The premise is interesting, but the execution is clumsy and severely overstretched.
The show is set in a fictitious city somewhere in the North East. The recently widowed police officer Arup arrives there from Mumbai with his teenaged daughter Pari. Assured by his superior that the posting will be uneventful since there is barely any crime to speak of, Arup finds himself investigating an actor’s death soon after he has set down his bags.
The case leads Arup to Dev, a shaman who can connect with the newly departed. Dev can reach out to a soul soon after it leaves the body and journeys to the afterworld, pictured here as a water body bathed in nuclear-yellow light.
Arup recruits Dev as a spiritual Sherlock and uses him to solve crimes that might have otherwise required brainwork. Also keen on enlisting Dev, but for nefarious reasons, is a hoarse-voiced adversary with a blood-red eye. His name is Yama Nadu, and he appears to have walked off the sets of a Ramsay Brothers movie.
Yama Nadu can foretell the future, but is really in search of a hidden power that Dev doesn’t yet know he possesses. Accompanied by his sidekick Thapa, Yama Nadu arrives in Dev’s backyard, leading to a chain of events that links back to Arup’s late wife Nyima and his disturbed daughter Pari.
The often confusing and overwritten narrative includes heavy lashings of mumbo-jumbo, domestic drama revolving around Arup and Pari, and romantic sub-plots involving father and daughter. Shahana Goswami, the best performer in the cast, plays a local policewoman who starts to develop feelings for her new boss.
Sanjay Kapoor is competent as Arup, who may or may not have his own secrets, while Karma Takapa has an awful lot of heavy lifting to do as the sensitive and troubled Dev. Shaylee Krishen, as Pari, has a similar load to carry, but is too raw and one-note to convey her character’s inner turmoil. Robin Tamang, playing Yama Nadu, can never quite be taken seriously. More convincing is Lanuakam Ao as Thapa, Yama Nadu’s henchman.
Visual metaphors of winding roads and mist, which are meant to convey a sense of mystery and the uncanny, abound. The series too loses its way ever so often. With a brutally pruned running length, fewer sub-plots and less gobbledygook, The Last Hour could have delivered on its unusual theme and the notion that murder can be solved with a mystic touch.
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