Jude, Luke, Marc, Paulie and Pete are liberal-minded roommates and grad students at a Iowa post-secondary institution. Every Sunday for the past year, they have hosted a dinner party, inviting a friend over to have an open-minded discussion about whatever topics are of interest. On a dark and stormy night when Pete was supposed to bring a friend for one of those dinners, he instead comes home with Zachary Cody, who rescued a stranded Pete whose car broke down. They invite Zach to stay for dinner instead of Pete's missing friend. They soon find out that Zach is among other things a racist neo-Nazi, which brings up a potentially dangerous situation for Jewish Marc and black Luke. After some physical altercations and verbal threats, Marc ends up stabbing Zach dead out of what he considers self-defense. As the friends discuss what to do about Zach, they finally come to the conclusion that in killing Zach, they have done society a service. So they ponder 'why not invite other ...Written by
When the group is arguing after Luc stabs the woman who hates Catcher In the Rye, the victim is supposed to be dead with a knife in her back, slumped over the chair, but she can clearly be seen breathing. See more »
"Thumbelina" is art. "Catcher in the Rye" is just mean-spirited garbage littered with the, oh, the "F" word.
See more »
The dark and slippery satire THE LAST SUPPER is an Orwellian farce, which, whether or not it intends to be, represents the distasteful course that American liberalism has taken over the past few decades. As a meal, THE LAST SUPPER hopes to serve up food for thought, but proves to be more fast food than grand cuisine. And, before we end the lame and obvious food metaphors, let's just say the film has a meaty premise, but is hard to swallow because it is half-baked -- okay, three-quarters baked.
The plot is simple: five rather smug and pretentiously liberal graduate students in Iowa, the heartland of American conservatism, have a weekly ritual of inviting a guest to Sunday dinner so that they can have philosophical conversations about politics. Apparently meant to be self-indulgent and self-congratulating chatter more than real debate, the intellectual hour goes astray when an unexpected guest proves to be a far right lunatic who expresses his sympathy for Adolph Hitler. Before the dessert gets served, it is the guest who gets carved up and the new Sunday night ritual becomes supper and a homicide. After some superficial debate, the housemates decide that they would be doing the world a favor by disposing of potential Hitlers before they became real life Hitlers. It is liberal activism taken to its not-necessarily-logical extreme.
Their guest list (of cameo guest stars) begins with the lunatic war vet (Bill Paxton), a homophobic priest (Charles Durning), a male chauvinist (Mark Harmon) and an anti-environmentalist (Jason Alexander), but quickly degenerates to lesser villains (played by lesser actors) that include an anti-abortion activist, a librarian who dares to object to "The Catcher in the Rye" and a virginal teenage girl who doesn't approve of sex education in school. The checklist of villains (in rapidly declining order) is obviously meant to show how easily the power to destroy can become indiscriminate and, indeed, addictive.
The film has been deemed anti-conservative by some because the supposed heroes are lefties and their victims are from the right and, at least at first, espouse only the most extreme notions of conservatism. But the point is that the various dinner guests do not represent typical conservative thought, but are grotesque caricatures of right wingers. The war vet -- seen through far left eyes -- can't be just patriotic, he has to be a crazed fascist. The priest can't merely see homosexuality as a sin, he has to be virulent in his hatred. The anti-feminist has to be a proponent of rape. Etc., etc., etc. The quintet of killers are not heroes or even anti-heroes, or even psychopaths, but clean-cut, well-educated, well-intentioned typical liberals who become drunk with their own sense of self-righteousness. Their hunt to destroy future Hitlers blinds them to the reality that they are the future Hitlers. For what was Hitler, but a man who thought he could build a better society by eliminating the undesirables? The right-wing victims are such obvious caricatures that they do not inspire anger or hate, but uncomfortable humor, not unlike guest stars doing a skit on "Saturday Night Live." The weakness -- or perhaps the point -- of the left wing assassins is that they are so blandly uninteresting as individuals. This preppy death squad -- Ron Eldard, Cameron Diaz, Annabeth Gish, Jonathan Penner and Courtney B. Vance -- are so homogenized and banal as individuals that they only can be moved to action as a group. The message is that Hitler alone couldn't accomplish much, but a group willing to rationalize any atrocity as a means to a just end is the real danger to society.
It is as a critique of modern liberalism in the era of political correctness that the film is boldly, almost brazenly, sly. The groundbreaking liberalism of the 1960s, a call of dissent in the name of openness and equality, has slowly faded into the background. Diversity has become the liberal buzz word, but it is, literally, skin deep diversity, not diversity of thought. It is said that we become that which we hate the most and as such liberal idealism has increasingly become a dogma of intolerance, double standards and self-indulgence. Liberalism is no longer the antithesis of conservatism, it is the mirror image.
Of course the basic message of THE LAST SUPPER could have been told as well, but differently, with the political roles reversed. Indeed, had the film been made in the 1960s, I suspect that it would be conservatives serving the wine to liberals -- and I suspect that the film would have been satirically sharper and more outrageous. Certainly, in that case, the film's casual religious symbolism might have made sense, religion being a favored main dish to the right. But as is, THE LAST SUPPER's attempts to mock religion seem like a lame afterthought -- an ill-considered seasoning, as it were.
The film is better as a concept rather than a story and lacks a punch. Instead of being spicy or zesty or deliciously decadent, THE LAST SUPPER seems to be served up as something that is good for you, nutritious rather than satisfying. Especially the finale when the last Last Supper is with a conservative talk show host played by Ron Perlman, who may or may not be the Hitler that the we are taunted with throughout the other meals. Just desserts are served up with an ambiguous twist that is as jiggly uncertain as Jell-O. THE LAST SUPPER makes the worst social faux pas of all by sending its viewers away only half filled and hungry for something more.
11 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this