Posted September 2, 2010 by Alex Moss Editor in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

Last Night


A bittersweet ode to the resilience of the human spirit on the last night of Earth’s existence.

A bittersweet ode to the resilience of the human spirit on the last night of Earth’s existence.

The concept for Last Night is wonderfully simple and yet opens
up a question we can all relate to. What if today was the last day? Not
your last day but everyone’s? How would you spend it? Although Last
Night does not offer definite answers to these questions is creates a clever character drama around them and makes for a refreshing change from the normal idea of Armageddon.

With the Earth shortly to end, and the anarchy having ended, a handful of people set about analysing life. Sandra (Oh) is anxious to get back home to her husband Duncan (Cronenberg) in order to spend their last moments together, unfortunately she is having car troubles. On her way she runs into Patrick (McKellan) who has just come back from a Christmas dinner with his family. In their quest to find Sandra a car they call upon Craig (Rennie) who has spent the last remaining months fulfilling his sexual fantasies.

Most films concerning the end of the world look to CGI and adventure to hook the audience in. Think most of Roland Emmerich’s output; 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow,
and you get the idea that the end of the world will be epic. In
Hollywood terms we will go out with big bangs and even bigger gestures
of love and emotional turmoil. Last Night looks at it from a more
personal point of view. The cause of the end of the world is never
stated, although nicely hinted at throughout, and is an event that
cannot be stopped but rather embraced. It is by no means loud and
dramatic but instead a rather sombre affair that is all the more poignant seeing it from an intimate perspective.

Writer/director McKellar brings some delicate touches to the
film allowing you to fully realise the fear the characters face. The
realisation that every day conversation suddenly holds no meaning, for
example “see you later” gets the fateful response of “no you won’t”,
there is no escaping what is coming. It may sound all doom and gloom but
McKellar finds ways to bring a dark comedy that always
resonates. When his character Patrick muses “No one was there to witness
the beginning, but we’ll be here for the end” it draws a poetic sense
of irony from the situation. There is a washed out pallet to the film
which is in keeping with the tone that life is gradually departing as
all involved cling to anything they can, mainly each other, all the
while knowing that there is no Bruce Willis to prevent the inevitable.

In the closet thing the film has to a lead, McKellan plays Patrick
with a wry sense of inevitability. He is not bitter or twisted just
sarcastic about the indulgent ways much of humanity are going about the
climax of the world. It is through him that the film has just enough humour to keep it the right side of depressing. Sandra Oh, best known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy and brilliant in Sideways,
brings an emotional heart to the film. Her desperation to get to her
husband in time for the big fair-well is what pulls on the heart strings
more than anything else. She conveys the impression of near tears for
the entire running time, which is no mean feat. Rennie, famous to the
world of geek as Leoben in Battlestar Galatica (it is not mean if you
are one of those people), gives Craig a charming yet ultimately
desperate air that is all too believable given his need for affection.
The performances all round are what make Last Night so interesting to
watch as these characters prepare to face the abyss.

If an ‘end of the world blockbuster’ thoroughfare is what you are after you have come to the wrong place. However, if you like thought-provoking interactions with well-rounded performances then
you have come to the right Apocalypse, because Last Night has the lot.
It never rises up to challenge you but it will make you question what
you would do when faced with not just yours but everyone’s mortality. Far from leaving you hung-over Last Night is one to remember.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com