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Joanna accuses her husband, Michael, of being attracted to his co-worker. Wanting to make-up before he goes on a business trip, she assumes she over-reacted. But when they are both away from each other for one night, Michael ends up testing his loyalty to Joanna and his attraction to Laura. And Joanna tests her honesty to Michael when her ex-boyfriend Alex suddenly appears in New York for the day. Written by
LAST NIGHT is a tightly woven tale that explores the psyches of four people in one fascinating evening. This is the initial directing outing for Iranian-American writer Massy Tadjedin ('The Jacket', 'Leo') who also created the story and the script: the film is so fine that we doubtless will be hearing more about her.
Joanna Reed (Keira Knightley) is a beautiful young writer married to commercial real estate developer Michael Reed (Sam Worthington) in what appears to be a happy marriage despite the struggle between two careers. Michael takes Joanna to a company party and there she observes the soft spoken Michael paying attention to one of his co-workers, the sensuous Laura (Eva Mendes), an act that Joanna feels indicates unfaithfulness or at least suspicious behavior on Michael's part. The seed of doubt is planted, Michael is leaving for a business trip to Philadelphia the next morning with his coworkers Andy (Anson Mount) and Laura, and there is friction between Joanna and Michael that Michael's reassurance cannot overcome. The next day as Joanna sops for coffee she encounters an old flame from her time spent writing in Paris - Alex Mann (Guillaume Cadet) - and they agree to meet that evening. Chemistry resurges and that evening as Alex and Joanna dine with Alex's publisher Truman (Griffin Dunne), both are questioned by Truman about their past affair, Joanna admits she is now married, and Alex is in a relationship in Paris. The couple leaves and circumstances lead them to return to Joanna's apartment where they face their feelings. At the same time as this evening is developing Michael and Laura enter a seduction dance: Michael is faithful to Joanna but the emotionally bruised Laura persists in her attempt to pull Michael into her web. The manner in which each of these temptations resolves and the aftermath is the brilliance of Massy's writing and direction: this is a story written very much form a women's vantage and that fact allows each of the characters to become very well defined and credible.
The quartet of actors is well matched: Knightley continues to mature as a fine actress, Sam Worthington breaks out of his stodgy shell to allow us to see a man driven by fidelity and tempted by lust, Eva Mendes takes Laura to a higher dimension of being, and Guillaume Cadet is undeniably an Alex who few women could resist: he has true star power. The method of pairing the development of the one night by flashing back and forth between the progress of the two couples in the dance of seduction vs fidelity is extremely successful. This is a thinking person's movie and an introduction of a writer/director who already has shaped the beginnings of a successful career. Highly Recommended.
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