Thursday, 30 October 2014

FILM@LXG: These Final Hours

(from our resident reviewer two_senser)

How would you spend your Last Day on Earth?

This is the question posed by These Final Hours. It's a question that's been asked many times before. Celluloid has placed the Earth and the Human Race in many apocalyptic scenarios, from alien invasions to climatic catastrophes, to viral pandemics. Most of these have been huge, effects-driven blockbusters - and although the Apocalypse told on such a grand-scale certainly draws the crowds - it's the smaller, more intimate stories that leave a lasting mental impression, and lead you to really ponder the question, "What If?" 
Set in Perth, Australia, we quickly learn that this is the final day on Earth and that the Western Australian city only has 12 hours left before the inevitable downfall that has already taken down Europe, Canada and a large chunk of the rest of the world.

We meet the self-absorbed James (a believable and gritty performance by Nathan Phillips) as he is rushing off to his mate’s massive house party to drink his sorrows away and forget about the looming end of life as we know it. It’s a dark, foreboding urban landscape that James traverses - as society falls apart at the seams, and the city's inhabitants cope with the impending disaster in their own, often disturbing and macabre ways.

Unforeseen events then place James in situations where he is forced to choose between his own self-destructive resolution and the last shreds of humanity that are buried away, deep within him. 

What is most disturbing about this movie, and the reason why it works so well, is that the scenarios presented are entirely plausible. We all like to think of ourselves as decent, civilized human beings. But when presented with just 12 hours to live; and a fate we simply cannot escape - would it be so difficult to slip from the shackles of humanity and rapidly descend into a much darker state of consciousness?

Adding to a growing list of recent explorations into the Apocalypse by way of Antipodean directors and storylines, (see The Rover and the upcoming Mad Max reboot), director Zak Hilditch takes us on a journey without destination, although we inevitably, unequivocally know where we're headed...

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