(director: Michael Keating; screenwriter: Gregory Poirier; cinematographer: Marshall Adams; editor: Jessica Hernández; music: Alex Heffes; cast: Michael Keaton (John Knox), James Marsden (Miles), Al Pacino (Xavier), Marcia Gay Harden (Ex-wife), Suzy Nakamura (Detective), John Hoogenakker (partner detective to Nakamura), Dennis Dugan (Philo, Fence), Joanna Kulig (Prostitute), Ray McKinnon (Muncie), Morgan Bastin (Kaylee); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Nick Gordon, Trevor Matthews, Michael Sugar, Ashley Zalta; Saban Films; 2023)

“Engrossing crime drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The 72-year-old actor-turned-director Michael Keating (“The Merry Gentleman”) directs and stars in this engrossing crime drama. Keating co-writes it with Gregory Poirier. Its premise has Keating as John Knox, a top-notch hitman with a rapidly escalating dementia who tries to straighten things out after a drastic mistake on a job and does one last job that’s not mob connected but helping his adult son cover-up a murder.

The soft-spoken loner Knox, who has two Ph.Ds (English & history) and is a book lover, relates only to a few people such as his partner Muncie (
Ray McKinnon), a prostitute (Joanna Kulig) he sees on a weekly basis, and his old time mentor in the business Xavier (Al Pacino), who eats his take-out Chinese meals in the bath tub.

We take in a visit the LA residing Knox makes to a doctor in San Francisco, who confirms that soon his faculties will go fully into decline. With little time left for him to function, Knox must clean up a botched job (after mistakenly killing his partner and an innocent bystander, as his dementia starts to kick in, leaving him helpless to make right decisions), also he needs to help his estranged son Miles (James Marsden) cover up his crime, of killing
a white supremacist who had been sleeping with Knox’s teenage granddaughter (Morgan Bastin).

The film gets its comic relief from the clever banter between the mixed-gender partner detectives (
Suzy Nakamura & John Hoogenakker), with the lady cop giving her male partner the business. It gets an intelligent performance from Keating, an enjoyable scene-stealing one from Pacino and a winsome one from McKinnon.

The film has a sweet-tasting noir flavoring, that hits the right spots.

It played at the the Toronto Film Festival.

Knox Goes Away