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It's 18:00 in a somewhat deserted Toronto on the last day before the scheduled end of the world at midnight, the end which has been known now for months. Most people are treating midnight as a matter-of-fact event with little sense of panic. In fact, many are celebrating this last day. Most have very specific wants for this last day and will do whatever they need to to make those wants happen. And some, such as Duncan and Donna with the gas company, are working, ensuring that the masses are served and comfortable during the final hours. The Wheeler family are marking the last day by having a Christmas party, although sullen adult son Patrick, his thoughts in part stemming from being recently widowed, has made it clear he wants to be alone in his own home at the end. Patrick's wants may be in jeopardy when a woman named Sandra - Duncan's wife - lands on his doorstep. Sandra is stranded, trying to make it across town to her own home so that she and Duncan can carry out their own last ... Written by
In the early moments of the movie, when the car's up on it's bumper against the pole, the girl puts her keys in the door to unlock it and when the door opens, the bell goes off, to alert that the keys are in the ignition, or that the lights are on. Neither is true. See more »
I have seen this film twice, and believe that it is certainly one of the best films of 1998. One person brought that people wouldn't be violent on the day when the world ends, but come together in a type of philosophical togetherness. I was stunned by that idea, assuming that the cynicism that permeates today's culture would have enforced that idea, that violence will be around. The end of the world is a violent thought, as exemplified in films such as Armageddon and Deep Impact (true, they were stupid films). But that aside, Last Night is a powerful and very introspective look at the lives of several people who's lives happen to be interwoven on the last day of the world. It begs the question "what would you do with the final six hours". Many have remarked on the tone, and I have to heap more praise on the subtle irony that is found throughout the film. Why is the world ending? The audience doesn't find out. Whether one's appreciation of the film diminishes or grows for this ambitious step is purely personal. For a ninety minute film, it's ambition in depicting six lives is interesting, and it's only mistake. For the movie to do justice to all the characters, it needed to be at least half an hour longer. But that singular flaw does not negate the film's final achievement.
The entire cast is sensational, even if they're on for short periods of time. Rennie and Oh took home well deserved Genie awards for their brilliant performances, but I felt McKellar's performance was the most intriguing. He has a talent for not poignant drama, but scenes of almost deadpan-type comedy (where Sandra asks him the favour).
Don McKellar has got to be among the most versatile writers around. After writing Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, the fragmented biopic about the famous pianist, and The Red Violin, another slightly fragmented story told through and about a violin, he wrote, directed, and starred in Last Night, and apocalyptic dramedy (or an ironic tragicomedy), and he does it with supreme style. Last Night is a film not to be missed, but to be pondered over and savoured.
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