4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011) Poster

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Nervous Breakdowns
tieman647 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Anyone who believes in infinite economic growth on a finite planet is either a madman or an economist." - Attenborough

Mankind works its way toward extinction in Abel Ferrara's "4:44 Last Day on Earth". The film made it onto several Cahiers Du Cinema "best film" lists, but is otherwise widely hated.

"Earth" opens in a spacious New York apartment, home to Ciso (Willem Dafoe) and Skye (Shanyn Leigh), a couple of bohemian artists. As the world is going to end at 4:44am the following morning, our duo are in a state of anxiety. He mumbles to himself, she paints a gloomy Ouroboros snake on their living room floor, a dark, gaping maw at its serpentine centre.

The film's first act watches as our couple squabble, make love and nervously await termination. Then they have more sex. Ferrara films these "romantic" sequences with raw closeups, lingering on flesh and open pores; bodies touch bodies, perhaps for the very last time.

Counterpointing this "literal" connection is a colder form of digital connection. Loved ones "meet" on web-cams, talk on computer screens, including a Vietnamese delivery boy, who borrows a laptop to hastily chat with his family. Then it's back to work. Even on the eve of Armageddon, the poor seem busy. Cisco ashamedly gives the kid wads of now-useless cash.

Ferrara tries to get political. Like Godard on a bad day, he cuts to TV screens and desktops, most of which show trees falling, fires burning or feature newscasters ruminating about ozone depletion. Al Gore, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela....they all make an appearance, public figureheads who chastise man and herald extinction. "Where are the experts?" Ciso fumes, beside the fake trees stencilled on his rooftop. "How's that 2 and a half percent feel now?! We're all gonna die! We're already dead!"

Ferrara's "Body Snatchers" touched upon, vaguely, the linkages between capitalism, militarism and pollution. His later films would develop these themes further. "4:44 Last Day on Earth", however, is content to wallow in futility. The time's up. You reap what you sow. Karma has come for mankind, tenfold. A Buddhist monk offers a new course ("Plant a different image in your mind and you can stop death!") as does Cisco ("Take what you need, think of the others!"), but it's too late now. The tipping point has been reached.

Ferrara's climactic annihilation is due to both the "ozone layer being destroyed" and some sort of "solar surge", but the film is uninterested in such details. Ferrara's climactic event is symbolic, not literal. In the real world, there is itself no single extinction day. As economist Bernard Manning says, "every day is another Armageddon". 100 species go extinct daily, biodiversity decreases and the poor die. Capitalism strangles slowly, breaks down, then starts again. Armageddon is continuous, uninterrupted, and well hidden.

In one scene, Cisco watches as the Dalai Lama discusses greed and money. "Money is not the ultimate evil," His Holiness says (surprising for a staunch Marxist like himself), but greed. This is a common sentiment, but it can also be argued that contemporary money is "literally evil", as many (the dictionary definition of "evil" is: "ruinous", "harmful" and "causing of future misfortune") radical economists and even scientists (Soddy, Einstein, Edison) show: as all money is issued as debt at interest, it can only exponentially increase debts, it can only increase poverty/inequality, and contemporary money by its very design exists to redistribute energy from the bottom of society to the top regardless of individual morality, individual behaviour or its "type" of usage. Money is not an innocuous thing (or as Friedmanites say, "superneutral"). It is an engine which exerts its own forces. Recent computer simulations (Peter Victor et al), or even mathematical representations (Adrian Dragulescu, Victor Yakovenko) are themselves able to map money. They show that money, like energy, heeds the laws of conservation. Fast forward these simulations, and only two outcomes are reached: our economic system has to either plunge deeper into debt, or its source (usually central banks) ends up accumulating all money. Ceaseless consumption, production, death and expansion forestall these outcomes. Such things have led to even NASA jumping on-board the doom-and-gloom bandwagon. In 2014, Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centere, led by mathematician Safa Motesharrei, predicted "irreversible collapse" due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Their report was ignored.

"Earth" ends with snippets from "The Hairy Ape", an expressionist play (which starred Dafoe) about a brutish labourer continually bamboozled by the rich. Ferrara's Cisco is in a way a modern update of "Ape's" lead, living a self-obsessed (he's shaving hours before the world dies?), passive existence. If the film poses the question "What do you do when you know the world is going to end?", Cisco's answer is "wait in isolated privilege". His daughter plays video games as 4 o clock nears.

"Earth's" last act contains a subplot in which Cisco confronts his past drug addictions. Ferrara was himself an addict, and casts his own real life partner (Leigh) as Cisco's mate, lending the film an autobiographical quality, Ferrara contemplating his own mortality, and perhaps also New York's.

Ferrara's New York is itself strangely quiet, recalling her tranquil 2003 blackouts. The city's inhabitants are alone, isolated, reduced to electronic ghosts talking on screen, and seem to accept death with calm and serenity. Last words: "All we have is each other, our time has come. We are all angels now."

7.9/10 – Worth two viewings.
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Over-dramatic, so what? It's the end of the world
sammystyles11219 January 2012
How would you spend your last days on Earth if you knew the world was going to be destroyed in the morning? That's the premise in Abel Ferrara's (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) claustrophobic new movie, starring Willem Dafoe and newcomer Shanyn Leigh in where the two play a Manhattan couple coming to terms with their final moments of existence.

Ferrara's choice to shoot the majority of the film in one setting with a minimal amount of takes made me feel as if I were watching a play - not at all a bad thing, especially when the lead actor is Dafoe. This play setting, along with the 'the sky is falling' scenario practically begs for fueled performances to which both Dafoe and Leigh delivered. The actors made the most of their surroundings and turned their emoting skills on high, only occasionally finding themselves being caught in fits of overacting. This is where the movie falters, when the attention pays too much to the acting and not the scenario. Still, the little bursts of over-the- top moments weren't enough to detract me from the movie as a whole.

Fans of both doomsday scenario movies and movies that show close-ups of Willem Dafoe's pubic region should walk away eerily pleased from this one.
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If the viewer could only FAST-FORWARD to the end of the world ...
twilliams769 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Ugh!" What a way to start a review; but in all honesty I cannot come up with a better word to use to express my thoughts on 4:44 Last Day on Earth, a rather dreadful indie film about "the last day on earth" as experienced by a successful actor played by Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, The English Patient, Finding Nemo). He lives in a large/sprawling NYC high rise apartment with his much-younger artist girlfriend, Skye (an unknown Shanyn Leigh). The two spend their last day together making love, squabbling, using their computers a lot (as there is a LOT of Skype-ing we must be in the very NEAR future!), sleeping and eating (she also paints while wearing evening gowns - a LOT, which doesn't fit into the time scale of the film as they dry awfully quick(ly)!).

The film set-up is that at 4:44 the following morning life WILL end. It is the announced time of the end of the earth and therefore ALL life as we know it will be coming to an end! The film never goes into the definitive specifics of it all; but it has apparently been "proven" by science and so EVERYone has accepted this as fact (it is the general acceptance by all that is actually much-more outlandish than the end-of-the-earth scenario presented here). As one political party is beginning to pride themselves on the premise that they deny all-things-science this film is NOT allowed to work as is.

According to the film, Al Gore was right about global deterioration although he was horribly wrong forecasting how long our planet had before it would all come to an end (Gore is yet another reason this would be considered "hogwash!"). The ice caps aren't the problem in 4:44 -- the fully depleted ozone layer is! It will completely disappear at 4:44 Eastern Standard time (around the world all at ONCE as the film just uses the LOCAL time for the title --which is more conceivable than Harold Camping's implication that God needed 24 one-hour slots to end the world as we know it as He apparently isn't all-powerful!).

As you can tell, 4:44 tries to be heavy and meaningful (using many good/wise clips of the Dalai Lama shows how "serious" the film wants to be) but the film means nothing because it is outlandish and the characters aren't believable. I AM one who believes that eight billion (+) people on the planet with X-amount of them driving vehicles (meaning billions) does most-likely cause some kind of damage; but I do NOT buy the main premise presented here -- that of the ozone depleting ALL AT ONCE! It isn't the Rapture, an alien invasion, a nuclear meltdown or a planetary collision (see Melancholia) that brings about the end of humankind. ... and that the EXACT time is known makes it all the more IMplausible -- puh-lease! As for the story, Dafoe plays an actor named Cisco who is sooo worried about the end of everything he spends his final day with his young love but he also ventures out a few times to see some old friends. There are MANY problems with these visits such as Cisco never greeting one "friend" whose house he goes to because he coincidentally bumps into an old friend there and the scene turns into a fate/cosmic destiny speak-scene which rendered the initial flat-inhabitant (the actual visit-ee if you please) unnecessary. Another HUGE problem (probably my BIGGEST) I had with 4:44 is that I am assuming mankind had been given a head's up on "the end" and yet Cisco has decided that a three-minute Skype conversation with much-loved relatives is adequate to to say goodbye and that he loves them. IF this is how much he truly cares it is a good representation of how much I didn't care for anybody in 4:44 either.

The streets of NYC are always full of traffic and the sidewalks are well-populated ... and there seems to be no chaos! Dafoe does see a man plummet to his death; but that appears to be the only despair on display in 4:44. This is seriously ALL the film is about ... another ridiculous scene has the couple order Chinese food for delivery. If it is someone's favorite, I'd understand wanting it to be one's last meal; but would restaurants really be open a few mere hours before the END of ALL LIFE? And -- if they did deliver, what is the point of waiting around to get paid?! What is one going to do with that money TOMORROW? I oftentimes found myself chuckling and/or talking to the screen because so much of the film doesn't work and everyone on screen doesn't appear to understand this. Leigh is one of the worst actresses I have seen lately -- her faux giggles and scowls were irritating. Dafoe was dense and spoke in circles. And -- I didn't care about either of them. How BAD is it that one wishes they could fast-forward to the end of a film because he/she'd rather see MASS DEATH than experience any more of these two characters' mundane lives?! Ugh.
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Lagging and tedious yet a few very good scenes
fortionat15 September 2012
End of times and the last day on earth with Cisco and Skye. A promising notion for a good movie, yet it was drawn to slow death with a tedious and slow screenplay enough to ruin the movie and bore the audience.

I found myself annoyed and frustrated with Dafoe's character Cisco as he went through the movie in his selfish and morass way. There were some scenes setup for promising dialog and emotion, like when he was saying goodbye to his daughter, yet turned out plastic and annoying. There was, however, two scenes I thought were well acted and the best part of the movie; when Cisco sat with his brother and his brother shared some wise words (which Cisco did not heed) while the other friends partied with booze and drugs. The other decent scene was when the delivery boy said goodbye to his family via Skype. (I think Skype paid for the movie)

Overall the movie left an empty feeling as the end approached with what seemed like a junior high school first film attempt with various and ridiculous cuts from films and news clips, none of which really tied anything together. I found the movie boring and besides a couple of decent scenes that were well acted or at least approached what one would expect toward the end, overall it was poorly written and haphazardly put together.
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Worth the time, if you give it a chance and some intellect
A.N.25 June 2012
This is one of those movies that requires rapt attention to the screen and the ability to "just get into it" and accept it for what it is. After about 20 minutes it grew on me. You need to try to put yourself in their position, not just watch it as an observer.

Yes, it could have been done better or differently, and could have covered a lot more psychological ground, but it worked for me in its own context. The director had a consistent vision, even if some viewers will never get it.

The attitudes of some external characters seemed oddly upbeat and that wasn't explained, but maybe that's how it would be for some. The casters may have studied people in the real world who knew they were going to die, so the world essentially ends for them anyhow. That may be worse than knowing everyone else is coming with you. There are endless psychological angles to this plot.

The vague technical explanation for the world's condition reminded me of "The Road" but little else about it resembled that film. I thought the acting was plenty good and the sparseness of characters and dialog (except for numerous Skype scenes) fit the mood that was created.

Just give a try and don't watch it with shallow, loudmouth people interrupting (I can't see it doing well in a typical theater setting). You may find it quite compelling and it could make you appreciate life more. That's the main effect it had on me.
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Not with a bang but with with a fizzle?
padron70228 March 2012
Not with a bang but with a whimper...

The story is about how two particular people would spend their last hours on earth if they new the world was coming to and end at a specific time. The story contains little fanfare and no special effects. It did remind me of a play more than a movie, as was mentioned by another reviewer. The story of the two main actors is interspersed with a variety of spiritual leaders weighing in on such weighty matters as good, evil and the meaning of life. Hard to convey much depth given the brevity of these interviews.

At one point one of the characters decides to visit an old friend and his walk thru the city reminds us all that people are still drinking, hookers are still hooking and most importantly lounge singers are still singing. Nice to know that we would all stay in character right till the end. I guess I better go see that new movie today since the world is going to end tomorrow... It all just seems a little improbable and hollow.

The acting was good but would have been better with a much more well thought out script.

This film must have been pure profit for the makers. I think about 20 percent of it must have been archived footage from around the world. The biggest problem I had with this movie is that it reminded me of a mediocre film school project at best. It tried to be artsy but failed. It tried to be philosophical but failed. It tried to be an emotional tale of a shared ending and failed. It tried to tie all these together with the worst music and sound effects that I have heard in some time. My ears are still ringing. Do yourself a favor and stay away from this one unless you happen to be in the mood to be severely underwhelmed.

No bang, no whimper, just kind of a fizzle...
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The Boring and Dramatic Last Day on Earth of a Couple in New York
claudio_carvalho10 February 2013
The ecologically devastated world will end at 4:44 h of the next day. In New York, the fifty and something year-old Cisco (Willem Dafoe) and his younger wife Skye (Shanyn Leigh) spend their last day together in their apartment, waiting for the coming doomsday.

"4:44 Last Day on Earth" is a boring and dramatic movie by Abel Ferrara disclosing the last day on Earth of a couple of lovers in New York. The movie seems to be sponsored by the Skype with many calls from their apartment using this software. The uninteresting plot is basically a filmed storyline with the usual use of religious images by Ferrara and nothing else. My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): "4:44 - O Fim do Mundo" ("4:44 - Last Day on Earth")
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Passion Play
LeonLouisRicci15 November 2012
New York's bad boy Director is back with another artsy, avant-Garde, personal picture that is surely nothing if not a cranky creation aimed against the mainstream and the Hollywood system. An ultra-low budget display for all the film-school and frustrated filmmakers to show them how to get it done without corporate backing and studio sucking up.

In this film he takes on, no less, the end of the world with a nod to Al Gore, the Dalai Lama, and Buddhism, and other peace-nick people. A left wing shout out to sensitive souls who might just have seen it all coming.

The movie has some beautiful cinematography (not usually one of the Director's traits) and the small cast is on the mark and it makes for a meditation on the madness of our times. There are some indulgences that are unnecessary and distracting (long close ups of sex) that adds nothing and subtracts somewhat, although it fits the theme: loss of lovely things. But overall it is a thoughtful and timely thesis that is an understated, overwhelming passion play. The passion for what is about to be no more.
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The last day on earth - How NOT to spend time
emanuel-aguas29 August 2012
If, for some unfortunate reason, you're about to die, here's an advice: do not watch this movie... it's a complete waste of time, even for someone healthy, new born, or just someone with a long life ahead. I was hoping something between Melancholia and The Road... but it turns out to be sad FLOP with lame acting, a poor script, where the actors seem to drift from one line to another with no feeling at all. There's a scene when Willem Dafoe get's to cry some unbelievable crocodile tears... You've been warn! If it's your last day on earth due to health or environmental reasons, you might want to consider in putting an end to your misery before watching this unbearable picture!
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Way Better Than Expected
housecountrywife23 July 2016
The only reason I bothered watching this is because Abel Ferrara directed it. It was really late and i figured this would be a decent movie to fall asleep to, but ended up watching the entire thing. I read reviews on here prior to my personal viewing, and think some of the negative reviewers completely missed the point of the movie. If you are looking for action it's not here, this is human behavior and psychology at it'z zenith, and last day. I couldn't help relating to some of the characters in the film, and I think some people out there will be able to as well. Ever wondered what the last day on earth would be like? This movie takes place in NYC, so imagine post-911 city dwellers last moments, you might find yourself not far off in your mental gleaming once you view the film. Maybe because it was late at night and I was somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness, but the film was disturbing and some moments rather creepy. Highly recommended, especially with the state of the world and America today.
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Artists wouldn't save the world if their lives depended on it
christa-906-14792126 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
By the time this feet-dragging, slow film comes to an end – together with the World - boredom and disappointment almost have the viewer at the point of welcoming the last day on Earth. Why? Well, the last day of this couple in its meticulous recording does not scare you, it doesn't really make you feel empathic with those characters or anyone, it does not even make you wonder about the hows and whys. That alone wouldn't be too bad, for if the film's premise is to take doomsday at 4:44 next day as a fact, fine. But neither the actions of people around nor anything happening on the screen seems to indicate that anything is wrong with the world. That's what you get when you record an ordinary day from the rooftop of an ordinary American city (one might call such movie the long and never ending death of civilisation!) introducing later the factual notion that this is the last day on Earth. While the basic idea of the screenplay seemed perfectly plausible, the way this idea is being delivered in the film definitely makes its viewing awkward in a very uninspiring manner. Dafoe's wooden acting appears to play a huge role in this.

The outstanding role of communication devices in the film seemed to be purposeful, showing how the character's inner isolation somehow is rather increased than diminished by such communication, at least with regard to the use, Dafoe's character Cisco makes of it. Maybe it is truly symptomatic for our time that people would say farewell to their other loved ones via online communication programs and gadgets before they perish. A Vietnamese delivery boy does the same, asking for the use of Cisco's laptop to "see" his far away family for a last time. His silent note plays a strong cord for certain as does Skye's farewell to her mother! The beautiful premise of 4:44 Last Day on Earth of a couple: mature actor (Cisco) and young painter (Skye) spending Earth's last day together could have delivered so much I imagine, and in a few scenes it actually does. Skye's vulnerability and her clinging to her art are such expressive and tender moments. But most of the time the wooden acting by Dafoe, something I had not expected from him, and suspended emptiness in that "wait" for the last moment, that's what you mostly get from the film.

For Science Fiction enthusiasts the flick should still be on their list, but with very limited expectations I warn. From me it gets a lukewarm half a thumb up, one and a half down.
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I felt like 4:44 was the length of this dismal movie...
davespix27 November 2012
If you like psychobabble filled dreary little movies with terrible music, lousy editing and an anticlimactic ending .... then this smelly wet dog of a movie is for you.

One would figure with Willem Dafoe in the title role that it would have been at least worth the effort. But this was almost as bad as some of those goofy (arty) foreign movies that make no sense.

This turkey made $8,355 on 3 screens in March 2012 ... then was shut down. That right there should tell you all you need to know.

I am so glad I fast-forwarded to the end after I got a little over half way thru it. I saved at least THAT much time in my life I didn't waste.
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A realistic take on the end of the world
riley_b75 February 2015
I think this movie deserves more respect than it's been given. With all the very unrealistic takes on the end of the world floating around this one actually tantalizes you with an all too realistic perspective.

I have a feeling that those who gave it a low rating were expecting some huge dramatic, catastrophic ending. Instead, this movie focused on the lives of a couple of people and what they felt, did and witnessed with the knowledge that the world was ending.

In short, it isn't for the lazy mind which doesn't want to think. You need to be prepared to place yourself in the characters' shoes and feel what they're going through.
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rzmasli16 December 2012
Other than the opening sensual scene (which didn't add to the storyline), the only other redeeming quality was the film short run time. The stories references to religion uses montages and didn't advance or enhance the story.I am sure there were significance references that I had missed, but it was hard to stay focused on story that didn't go anywhere. The premise was interesting, "What would you do with your last day on earth?". After watching this movie, "Bore everyone to death" seems appropriate. The movie appears to be an under graduate's senior project with family money to promote it. This was 90 minutes I can never recover.
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tale as old as time
julia_dahlby22 July 2012
I loved this movie. Great plot, complex and psychologically encapsulating. My mind was blown. Our protagonist feels trapped at the beginning but we move with him through a 24 hour journey which includes resolving his faith, sexual orientation, and taste for non-fiction mediocre penguin books. Genius! In all I have never experienced a more fulfilling 1.7 hours of my life. The way the world is portrayed to end is amazing enough on its own. I have never encountered such an ingenious theory. So ingenious, I'd bet money that this is a plausible way for us to perish in the future. I recommend this film to all ages and profiles of people in the world with the exception of my uncle Gerald.
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The last hours of a couple as human life on earth is about to come to an end.
mauraid23 March 2013
This film is fairly disturbing. It is very well acted and absolutely true to life. Some reviewers question the portrayal of many people as going about their daily lives in the face of disaster. As someone who has experienced the possibility of death and spent time in a residence where people were dying, that is pretty much what most people do. Whether it is because denial is such a motivator or just because most folks don't have the funds to change their lives in a big way, most folks just keep on keeping on. You talk to loved ones, say goodbye, settle up unsettled business and put on the clothes you have been saving for a special occasion.

My problems with this film are that the science is not explained and the story contains no concrete lessons. The moral seems to be 'I told you so.' It also is not moving. Therein lies its biggest failing. A quiet, thoughtful end of days film should leave the moviegoer with a desire to avoid the events of the movie. As a person with a history of activism, at the conclusion of this film I was discomfited, somewhat depressed but had no desire to do more about the environment. Why make a movie about an avoidable end of the world if not to move people?

Why should you see it? Because it lays blame where blame belongs: on each and every one of us. The spacemen didn't do it. Terrorists didn't do it. Muslims, Koreans, Communists - none of them did it. We did it to ourselves and the Al Gore clip is not laughable but probably the scariest part of the film because it is real.
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Wasted 85 minutes watching this disaster of a movie
spmytrash26 March 2012
In my viewing opinion.

This movie is a total waste of time for fans of science fiction. The movie does not show any "post-apocalyptic" reasoning. While Willem Dafoe may be a good actor, and plays the part well. this movie still proves to be very disappointing to sci-fi fans.

This movie needed some hint to the reason for "the end of the world". Instead of jumping into individual views towards an apocalyptic end. The acting was not to bad. But falls very short of movies like "Impact" and "Collision Earth". watch if you do not mind disappointments. Otherwise a good movie to avoid.
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Don't Waste Your Living Time on this nonsense.
countryshack4 August 2012
Before ordering this movie I was reading things here such as: Great Job! Loved the Movie. You just have to 'Get Into' it. etc. So I ordered and watched it. My guess is that these reviewers must have been too close to the happy smoke when they viewed this garbage.

Don't buy a ticket, don't buy the movie, don't rent the movie, don't even stream it if you have Netflix! Save your precious 7,800 heart beats to do something else...Anything Else.

What is wrong with the movie? Everything. (period)

It is just too ridiculous to even imagine that the scenes in this movie could possibly even come close to what would really happen if people knew that the end of the world was hours away. Traffic is flowing just fine and walking the streets looks like an average night. Oh, and by the way, there won't be special effects, action scenes, etc. It was the concept of people realizing that the end of the world was emanant that originally caught my attention but: It is just basically two people in an apartment.

I've read that the director, Abel Ferrara, is supposed to be some kind of artiste. But after watching a few things on YouTube, he seems to me to be in desperate need of therapy and/or medication.

What the female star in the movie, Shanyn Leigh (Abel Ferrara's life partner), sees in this old man is beyond me. But that is subject for another discussion.

So that brings us to Willem Dafoe and why he could have possibly made this sorry attempt of a movie. Excellent Actor! My only guess is that he is dipping his foot into several ponds to expand his talent. I just hope he realizes that he should never go near this pond again.

Trust me and save yourself an hour and a half.
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I'd rather watch an ant farm for 90 minutes.
MannyInNewYork13 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
4:44. Not good. Bad. Written and directed by Abel Ferrara. Abel clearly wanted some excuse make Shanyn Leigh remove her clothes, and then remove them a second time and a third time. Other than that, not much else happens.

Oh yeah, last day on earth. Might as well have been last day of the dollar menu at McDonald's . No real dialog, shallow characters that I cared nothing about. If I was going to write a story about two people facing the last few hours on earth, I'd at least try to make them worth remembering. I like Dafoe - he's played some really wacky and memorable characters - this isn't one of them. Angst alone doesn't make for a good movie . There's some small scene with a "clean and sober" brother that he unexpectedly runs into at his drug dealers house - that goes nowhere - "okay, gotta run, end of the world today! Ta ta!". Oh, the junkie returns for his last high. Give me a break - you just don't care. It sucked.

I'd rather watch an ant farm for 90 minutes.
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An offbeat, thoughtful, and touching end of the world outing
Woodyanders30 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The human race is destined to be eradicated from the planet at 4:44 a.m. due to the depletion of the ozone layer. Aging actor Cisco (a strong and intense performance by Willem Dafoe) and his much younger painter lover Skye (a fine and affecting portrayal by the pretty Shanyn Leigh) spend the last night on Earth together in their Manhattan high-rise apartment. Writer/director Abel Ferrara brings a subdued and reflective sensibility to the compelling story as he shows the characters dealing with the inevitability of life coming to a close by attempting to make amends for past indiscretions, saying goodbye to family and friends (Cisco telling his estranged daughter farewell via Skype rates as one of the single most heartbreaking moments in the picture), working on one last piece of art (Skye feverishly paints her final canvas throughout the course of the narrative), having sex, and getting high on drugs. Keeping the focus low-key and intimate by centering on two people, Ferrara manages to bring an extra gut-wrenching poignancy to the fairly plausible premise. Real-life newscaster Pat Kiernan has an especially moving scene in which he bids adieu to his viewers on live television. Popping up in nice bits are Natasha Lyonne as the saucy Tina, Anita Pallenberg as Skye's bitter mother, and Paul Hipp as Cisco's supportive ex-junkie brother Noah. The potent mood of doom and dread reaches a harrowing apex towards the end, with the uncompromisingly downbeat conclusion packing a real devastating punch. Both Ken Kelsch's sharp cinematography and the bluesy score by Francis Kuipers are up to par. A unique and interesting oddball entry in the apocalyptic science fiction genre.
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If today IS the last day.....
jamesburk611 January 2013
Don't waste any time watching this movie. Is it possible to rate a movie with a negative number? Just saying! It's an "artsy fartsy film, minus the artsy. I would like to say this isn't the worst film ever, but I can't think of a movie I have ever watched that was worse. If you are going to watch this movie I would recommend the following steps. Step one, get a big bowl of popcorn. Two, get your favorite soda. Next get comfy in your favorite chair, then, start movie. Then walk over to TV, pick it up and throw it out your window. Then sit back down and enjoy your popcorn and pop. The film is slow, poor audio quality, and its biggest sin of all is it's boring.
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jmsmatc15 April 2012
OK so the flick is far from perfect but it does make you think. The main characters are not the types you would invite to dinner. The female artist is totally absorbed in her painting even though the end is soon to come. She only takes a break for sex, Chineese takeout or, to consult with Mom after a spat with her much older boyfriend. The boyfriend at least makes an effort to connect with family and friends as the clock winds down to zero hour.It is very gritty from the scenes in the couple's loft to the city streets. Made for interesting conversation between my wife and me afterwords. Worth a look on a rainy day.
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Not worth watching
w-engler11 November 2012
This is a film where the title sounds good, but the writing and execution suck. Supposedly something (humanity's destruction of the environment) is leading to rapid ozone depletion and it will disappear at 4:44. At this point the writer, having no idea what the ozone layer is and how it works, says the world will end (though how is never stated). Having totally misrepresented the science (since even with no Ozone layer, life would initially continue and man could adjust, though in 5-10 years the global effects would be bad), the rest of the script goes into a tailspin as well. For a planet where it's predicted everyone will die at some specific time within one-day ... life seems to be getting on pretty well (at least what we can see of it since the scenes all take place in the females apartment so, other than TV shots or the few rooftops shots near the end). I mean come on now, would someone be sitting on a TV show calmly discussing the end minutes before it comes? This movie seems to be more of something shoved together so the directors wife (the female star) could say she was in a movie. Not worth watching.
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So glad I don't judge movies from so called film experts!
rcummings-631-13794619 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film was not intended to be a "Fire and Brimstone disaster thriller" but rather a glimpse of how two people decide to spend their last hours on earth. Unlike the "Film Experts" or so they would have you believe, this film does explain (not in great detail) why the end is coming and how a few people get ready for it. The film in my opinion was designed to make you think about what could happen and not send you off into a "make believe" world of outlandish stunts and explosions, etc. There are more than enough of those films if that is what you are into. The setting for this film is fantastic and the acting was great. After watching this movie it made me think long and hard about what it would be like if the end were a few short hours away, so the way I see it the film did what is was meant to do.
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remembering this oddity
Quinoa198421 February 2015
Perhaps it was because I generally like his films from the 80's and 90's (let's think - Ms. 45, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, The Funeral, even obscurities like Dangerous Game and China Girl), I was curious about 4:44 Last Days on Earth by Abel Ferrara, so I saw it in a (brief) theatrical run. It's a bizarre, even experimental film that's set pretty much all in the apartment of Willem Dafoe's character, Cisco. Ferrara sets this tale of existential angst and contemplation with images of the apocalypse on-coming. There's also a female companion, Shanyn Leigh.

It's not a long film, so there is that if you're wondering if it will be a slog. I didn't find it to be, in large part because Ferrara was making an honest, subtle attempt at trying to change the form of an apocalypse story. He had clearly a small budget to work with, so why not use the prowess and talent of someone like Dafoe? He's really the reason to see this, if you like his work here he delivers a soulful, bare-all performance that doesn't go TOO far like Antichrist for example.

If anything else, this film is a departure for Ferrara to try and explore desperation in an untenable situation - human beings knowing and faced with their end. Is it the strongest representation of how to stage this? Probably not. The director is indulging himself into just exploring things and themes and ideas through his characters, through the paintings we see the girl paint, through, well, Skype chats (if I remember correctly). But there's poignancy to this odd little movie that doesn't shy away from emotional truths, from exposing raw nerves, which is always what Ferrara is good at.
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