CINEMA 7 FILMS (2018)
Director: Rodrigo H. Vila
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Harvey Keitel, Justin Kelly, Marco Leonardi, Rafael Spregelburd, Liz Solari
“A lot of people think that the world is coming to an end. I don’t think it. I know it”
Boca Juniors superfan Rodrigo H. Vila took a break from soccer (FOOTBALL) to direct his first feature film in the shape of The Last Man – an apocalyptic sci-fi action flick starring Anakin Skywalker and The Wolf. An interesting pairing for a movie that looked to tackle an interesting, yet heavy, subject – PTSD. What isn’t overly interesting is another dystopian, bleak looking world put to screen and this movie doesn’t do an awful lot to change that.
Suffering from PTSD, war veteran Tov Matheson (Christensen) struggles to maintain any kind of normal existence. Haunted by visions of his dead comrade, he believes the world is coming to an end. The words of a messiah figure, Noe (Keitel), only sway his fractured mind into being obsessed with the idea – to the point of constructing an underground bunker for safety. Taking employment in an attempt to bring stability to himself, Tov begins a clandestine relationship with the boss’s daughter, Jessica (Solari), a relationship that only brings more trouble (along with the roaming Neo-Nazis out for him) as the destructive storms start to take a toll on the city…none of which help Tov’s mental and physical state.
The apocalyptic state has been done to death in recent years – grungy looking cityscapes packed with grubby looking hipsters and neon dripping from every wall and sign. Eventually, they all start to bleed together and look like the same movie. The Last Man is another movie that takes these aspects, albeit on a smaller scale. Vila’s attempt at a dramatic, stylish sci-fi action flick falls flat on quite a few levels, and whilst there are some positives, the majority of the movie is as glum and grey as the city in which it takes place.
The pairing of Christensen and Keitel is a random one, but strangely the two make it work. Christensen does well leading the movie and again gets to show he does indeed have the chops for acting (a very decent actor, in fact) whereas Keitel has less to do and is generally more subdued and…odd…with his performance. Elsewhere, we have cookie cutter villains and the generic love interest thrown in. Tov aside, the characters aren’t all that interesting. On a side note, Hayden Christensen is subjected to wearing one of THE worst fake beards I’ve ever seen. Ever. Darth Shaver.
Tonally, it’s very inconsistent here. Long stretches of men plodding and brooding through dark streets make way for flashes of action and CGI thunder cracks. Attempts at philosophy clash with naff Neo-Nazi spiel. The narrative voiceover Tov delivers in a vastly different voice to the one he speaks with during the rest of the movie. Where the movie ends up won’t come as a surprise to anyone and, unfortunately, it’s a bit of a slog in getting there.
Some of the action is decent and as the movie moves into the final act, it does begin to pick up in terms of pacing and quality. The best aspect of the movie is the story itself, it’s a solid foundation with which to build a narrative from, however, it just isn’t executed all that well.
However, starting the movie Metallica’s One was a great choice, just because it’s awesome (if not eye-rollingly cliché for this particular story)
The Last Man had a good story with which to build from, however, lacklustre pacing and boring characters ensure it never gets near that level. Whilst Christensen is solid, the movie is slow, ponderous and has very little substance.
September 8th 2018