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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Last Night, 1998 - Movie Review

As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is due to be turned on in a few hours with many scientific worriers thinking it will mean the end of the World when in fact we get more powerful cosmic rays hitting the Earth every second of every day. Everything will be fine.

However, here is a review of the movie Last Night. I saw it late one night years ago. You know how it is when you are so tired you should go asleep but you keep changing channels until something jumps out. This film did and I enjoyed every minute of it. May even have been an Alex Cox introduced Moviedrome feature. Written, directed and starring Don McKellar, it also features Sandra Oh, David Cronenberg, and Callum Keith Rennie amongst others. This review is by Adrian Sweeney who gave it 10 /10.

The world is going to end at midnight; it's six pm now. The impending catastrophe has been known about for months but nothing can be done about it.

Government has been wound down. There's a certain amount of mayhem, looting, and bloodshed in the streets, but most of that ended weeks ago; now people are just quietly resigned. The nature of the disaster is never specified or even mentioned, but cleverly hinted at. Sooner or later you'll suddenly realise what it must be to do with, and when you do it's a breath-catching moment. Once you notice this, the closest thing the film has to a big special effect, it becomes increasingly appalling as time goes on.

There are to be no last-minute attempts to save the earth. They were known to be futile before the film begins. Instead, people calmly make preparations for their last night alive. It's a bit like wanting to do something special for your birthday. Craig (Callum Keith Rennie) is living out the four-letter answer most people would give if asked 'What would you do if the world was about to end' - as he has been, methodically and systematically, for the past few weeks. Sandra (Sandra Oh) is trying to get across the chaotic city to her beloved husband. Patrick (Don McKellar, who also wrote and directed, brilliantly) attends a last family meal and plans a quiet evening alone with a Pete Seeger record. Almost everyone else is heading downtown for the big end of the world party.

Flashes of black humour help make things bearable, but I can't convey how genuinely chilling and terribly moving the film becomes before the end. Pre-millennium there were a handful of end-of-the-world films, most based around big-budget special effects. For a grumpy misanthropist such as myself, who officially couldn't care if the world was to end, even a blockbuster disaster movie like Deep Impact was a salutary experience, making me realise that I really, really don't mean that, and that for all its travails and miseries life is precious. But by excluding special effects and scientific explanations, and precluding the possibility of averting the end, and focusing entirely on the human, Last Night is far, far better and left me drained and devastated.

I almost prefaced these remarks with a 'Don't watch this alone' but decided, nah, other people can be a pain when you're trying to watch a film. But if you watch it alone and late at night as I did, be warned that after the end you may feel a strong urge to make contact with one of those annoying other people, at 2 in the morning, a friend, a relative, your milkman, anyone.

But watch this you must, for it's a great cinematic work of art.

That's all for me tonight. I'll speak to you Thursday to discuss how the World ended tomorrow!

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6 comments:

Jinja said...

I liked he review and the whole idea of the film.

I've just added it to my rental list at LOVEFILM....unfortunately they haven't got it in stock yet!

Anonymous said...

try pirate bay or mininova! LOL

dowahhditty said...

The Jinja would never pirate! its against the law!

dittydummdittydoo! said...

i will be watching this film ASAP!

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