A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »
Introspective artist Blake is buckling under the weight of fame, professional obligations and a mounting feeling of isolation. Dwarfed by towering trees, Blake slowly makes his way through dense woods. He scrambles down an embankment to a fresh spring and undresses for a short swim. The next morning he returns to his house, an elegant, if neglected, stone mansion. Many people are looking for Blake--his friends, his managers and record label, even a private detective--but he does not want to be found. In the haze of his final hours, Blake will spend most his time by himself. He avoids the people who are living in his house, who approach him only when they want something, be it money or help with a song. He hides from one concerned friend and turns away another. He visits politely with a stranger from the Yellow Pages sales department, and he ducks into an underground rock club. He wanders through the woods and he plays a new song, one last rock and roll blowout. Finally, alone in the ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Even though I really like some of Gus Van Sant's older movies (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO,...) and I do appreciate the fact that he dares to do something different (in terms of stepping away even further from mainstream cinema) with his more recent work, he more or less lost me with LAST DAYS. I think with this movie, we see a director who's trying just a little bit too hard to be eccentric. I've read some comments of people who liked it a lot and went on and on about the deeper meaning of things. I've read things about this movie being an accurate and truly sad & touching portrayal of the decay of a musical genius. And some people clearly praise this movie because they're fans of Gus Van Sant, completely ignoring the movie's flaws. Well, that's all fine by me, but that's not the way I saw the movie.
When I call LAST DAYS hollow, I'm not saying it's insincere. Not at all, because it really feels like a sincere portrait of a musician bordering on the edge of sanity (and I'm not using the term musical genius, because at not one moment in the movie we get prove that he really is one, we just have to assume it, because he supposedly has a big upcoming tour to go on and a fellow musician asks his opinion on a song he wrote... but hey, that's fine by me). When I say LAST DAYS is hollow, I mean that it's an empty vessel with no contents. When people start saying that it's about being unable to communicate with each other or that it's about friends draining you emotionally or blah blah blah... I just can't help laughing that away. Because not one single person in the movie actually does something. They all just hang around, sleeping, doing nothing, occasionally listening to music... (well okay, Blake has two moments where you can see him making music and singing a song, those were two solid one-shot sequences and I enjoyed them a lot). But apart from that, nothing happens.
And what about Michael Pitt deserving an Oscar for his role as Blake? You got to be kiddin' me! You can see him wearing a dress. You can see him fooling around with a gun. You can see him stumbling around in the house and through the forest. And you can see him eat something in the kitchen. That's it. And what's worse, he always mumbles the few lines he has in a way that it's almost incomprehensible. But I guess that's what you get when you're a burned out junkie. Assuming Blake IS a junkie, that is. Because we never get any evidence or hints as to why he's losing his mind. Everybody thinks: oh, he's into rock'n'roll, so it must be drugs. Has it ever occurred to anyone that, besides being severely anti-social, he might also be suffering from a psychological affection? Like insomnia or autism or whatever? Once again Gus Van Sant doesn't feel the need to enlighten us with more information. No info, no plot... sounds more like a registration than a movie, doesn't it? And then, after the 'movie' is over and we have absolutely learned nothing about our protagonist, Gus Van Sant has the pretension to show us some written text explaining that this movie is based on the last days of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. I mean, if he had the rights to use Kurt's name in the end credits, then surely he could have build some more references to his real life in the plot, no? It just feels pretentious and above all, a smart move to draw public attention to the movie. Because, way before the movie came out, everybody already knew that it supposedly was about the final days of Kurt Cobain. Seriously, if that little text would not have been there at the end of the film, and this movie was just about some unknown musician, I would have considered this to be a much better movie and would certainly have enjoyed it more. It simply would have worked much better for me that way, and I would have rated the movie much higher because of it.
However... I must say this: The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. And the camera-moves and angles are subtle, nicely framed and to the point. In fact, I believe that if you, at any given moment, would take a still of any frame in the movie, you would always have a perfect photograph. One of my favorite shots was when the camera slowly pulls back from the window when we see Blake playing various instruments inside the house. It must have lasted at least 5 minutes or so. Pretty brilliant. Another good thing was that the movie had a consequent unworldly feel to it. And it was also fun seeing Van Sant doing his ELEPHANT-trick again: Showing the same scene from a different point of view later in the movie. Sadly, these were the only things that kept me going through the movie.
So even if I think LAST DAYS was pretty bad for the reasons mentioned above, I'm gonna be extremely mild in my final judgement. I'll add one point for every aspect I liked: The cinematography. Asia Argento running around in her underwear. Kim Gordon was in it. The little music that was in it, was good (Thurston Moore was involved with the music). So there you have it: 4 out of 10 stars.
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