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4 reviews, 14 user ratings

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Last Night (1999)
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by Brian McKay

"Catastrophe has never been so punctual."
4 stars

At the beginning of "Last Night", we are informed that the world is coming to an end, "Tonight at midnight". But there's not much panic or mayhem, and what little rioting and looting being committed almost seems half-hearted. This is because the day and hour of the Earth's destruction has been known to its inhabitants for months in advance.

At first this seems like the biggest flaw the film has to offer - not only that the exact day and time of what appears to be some kind of supernova or massive solar flare can be predicted with any accuracy, but that it also just happens to occur at the stroke of midnight. But once you allow for a little poetic license and become involved with the characters, this seems like a trifling matter.

It is indeed the last night on earth, and most people are calm, if not happy. There isn't much rioting because they've pretty much gotten it out of their system in the previous months. Now there's nothing left to do but wait. As the paths of several characters cross, we see that each of them has a very different idea of how they want to spend their final hours. Craig (Callum Keith Rennie), decides he wants to spend every last hour fulfilling as many sexual fantasies with as many women as he can. Since there are many like-minded women out there with the end looming nigh, the pickings are fairly good. However, Craig would have been better off sticking with the first girl of the evening (a beautiful young black woman), since his subsequent choices seem to steadily decline in quality, incluiding a fling with his old high-school french teacher (one leathery-looking Genevive Bujold).

His best friend, Patrick (Don Mckellar, who also wrote and directed), is a widower who simply wants to be alone. However, fate won't allow him that final wish as a frantic woman named Sandra (Sandra Oh, probably best known as the dorky-yet-hot Asian girl on HBO's "ARLI$$") shows up on his doorstep begging to use the phone. She desperately needs to get in touch with her husband, who has gone missing. When attempts to contact him fail, she enlists a reluctant Patrick's help in finding a car so she can go look for him - neither one of them oblivious to the fact that there is a growing chemistry between them and the clock is ticking.

Certainly this is not the first movie to explore "The end of the World", but it is a refreshing change of pace from the giant asteroid/alien spaceship/nuclear war/plague and pestilence scenarios that dominate most of these films. This is not about the Earth being saved at the last minute by an action hero, or about the survivors who rise above and rebuild humanity. Whatever is going to happen at midnight, it's pretty clear there won't be any survivors. There is no deus ex, and nobody ever questions that the prediction might be wrong.

While it lacks the tension and panic of a similar film, "Miracle Mile", "Last Night" boasts a cast of intriguing characters in an equally intriguing (though unlikely) scenario, with Oh and Mckellar delivering the strongest performances.

While not entirely brilliant or original, it is nevertheless thought-provoking, which is what this kind of film should be. I doubt that if the end of the world ever does come, it will be so punctual, or so courteous as to give advance notice. But hopefully, humanity will face it with a shred of dignity, as this film optimistically believes.

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originally posted: 08/04/02 18:54:14
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User Comments

7/03/12 Mr. Right Why does the review only reveal the race of one character? Itemize them all, lazybones! 4 stars
4/30/12 Marty Beautiful ending. Average and slow otherwise. Takes advantage of endworld themes. 3 stars
4/03/11 SappyOmegaGuppy Not an action flick, nor particularly cerebral, but certainl a worthwhile emotional journey 4 stars
1/09/09 donor excellent pic very low-key, down to earth but who was the virgin with craig 4 stars
7/08/08 KyZan Low-key powerful and simply outstanding. Devastating. 5 stars
3/03/03 DG One of my favorites 5 stars
11/09/02 Stevo Fantastic plot idea, boring movie. Bid Disappointment. Even Deep Impact kicks its ass. 2 stars
8/03/02 The Bomb69 nice first picture for Don, should get much better 4 stars
3/03/02 Unagiboy The most intelligent movie re: the end of the world. Sandra Oh is brilliant (as usual). 5 stars
8/03/00 chad warford this is the greatest movie ever made. 5 stars
11/24/99 Ramsay Don's the man 4 stars
11/08/99 [KingMob] A decent artish flick, some long bits though. 4 stars
11/05/99 lkjh fgtr 3 stars
11/02/99 Ataraxia Excellent. 5 stars
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  05-Nov-1999 (R)



Directed by
  Don McKellar

Written by
  Don McKellar

  Don McKellar
  Sarah Polley
  David Cronenberg
  Tracy Wright
  Geneviève Bujold

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