Combustible Celluloid
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With: Don McKellar, Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley, David Cronenberg, Genevieve Bujold
Written by: Don McKellar
Directed by: Don McKellar
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, language and brief violence
Running Time: 95
Date: 05/01/1998

Last Night (1999)

3 Stars (out of 4)

11th Hour

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Another Canadian movie, Don McKellar's Last Night, played at thisyear's Mill Valley Film Festival. McKellar seems to have participated innearly every major Canadian film of the last five years. He co-wrote thescreenplay for this year's excellent The Red Violin, directed byFrancois Girard. He appeared in The Red Violin and Girard's 32 ShortFilms About Glenn Gould, Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster (1991) andExotica (1995); and David Cronenberg's eXistenZ (1999). He called infavors from many of the folks involved with these movies to help himwith Last Night.

Last Night tells the story of the last night on Earth. We're not told how or why, but we know that the world will end, and there's just six hours left. The movie follows several characters as they try to spend those six hours in their own ways. McKellar has chosen to spend it alone, even though his family wants him with them, celebrating Christmas! Sandra Oh plays a woman who tries and fails to get home to her husband (played by Cronenberg) and ends up spending her last hours with McKellar. Sarah Polley and Genevieve Bujold also star.

The film manages to create a believable atmosphere in which it feels like the world is truly ending (helped slightly by our own approaching millennium). It attains humor through the contrast of those who remain in control and those who have given up and accepted pandemonium as a way of life. I don't know how Last Night will play into the next millennium, but for now it has high potential for cult status. I was buoyed by the film's comedy, but it also got me thinking about what I myself would do if I knew time was running out.

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