Last Night - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Last Night Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 20, 2012
With great casting choices, and a premise that is shown in a way that no other film has shown before, "Last Night" shows why Canadian films have so much more heart than Hollywood pictures in this day and age. In this film, we follow numerous families as they are preparing for the end of the world, and even though it is kind of perfectly set up and there is no real anarchy going on in the streets, you can relate to every character and the end just may have you in tears. It is a very low-budget film with an engaging script. The cinematography was very simple, but extremely effective, and what really made the film a great one to watch, was the average atmosphere that is not too over-the-top as rich people are just killed off first. This is a very subtle film. It may not have the right feel in some portions of the film, and you can definitely tell when something has been staged, but I really really enjoyed this film! Definitely recommended!
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2012
"It's your last night on earth. Go out in style."

A group of very different individuals with different ideas of how to face the end come together as the world is expected to end in six hours at the turn of the century.

"Last Night" is a fascinating little film by writer/director Don McKellar. Dry-witted illusions and startling visuals open the film. It soon becomes clear that the world and it's inhabitants have only six hours remaining. The film follows how several residents of the Toronto area fill those final hours. It's never clearly stated exactly what has caused the world's condition, nor is that an important part of the story here. The main focus of the film are the characters, such as Patrick Wheeler (played by McKellar) who is a terribly lonely guy who struggles to even see his family for one last time. He wishes to end it all alone, which seems to be how he lived. Then there's his friend Craig, who is using a variety of untried sexual practices as a means to connect with someone. Isolation and loneliness are the central themes to the film. It's a recognizable representation of what the filmmaker feels would be most noticeable trait about people if all of our lives were suddenly stopped. Surprisingly, the film never becomes depressing, even as it touches on so many serious topics, including assisted suicide, but instead becomes an expression of "what if" and therefore is exceptionally thought-provoking. In fact it's a rather uplifting tale.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2011
At first I was totally underwhelmed, but this turned out to be a pretty good movie. It's basically about how a few different people choose to spend their last six hours on earth, which is about to come to an end due to some unnamed catastrophe. Interesting premise, interesting movie.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2007
One of the best Canadian films ever made.
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2008
am i the only one who thought this was black comedy? ok people, u have to admit alot of it was very funny. and i'm not a freak. i wondered why it was broad daylight til well after 9 pm until one of the characters made an allusion to it also; did the earth fall into the sun? i like that they never say. it's a very specific apocalypse that occurs at 12 midnight. a terrific concept and rather well executed by a bunch of canadians
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2009
Last Night takes an absurd concept and turns it into something personal and endearing. An intelligent and somewhat subtle apocalypse.
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2007
Low key but thought provoking movie with a fascinating central concept supported by able actors.
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2007
I think this accurately depicts what a lot of people would do in the last few hours on earth. Well done, I especially liked the last few seconds.
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2007
So what would you do if you knew the world were coming to an end? It's that kind of question younger friends might ask when they've had few. You know what I mean, right? Hey, Craig, this is set in Toronto. What would you do if you knew you were in the final hours of your life? Me? I have no clue. But I can almost guarantee you that I would probably be doing not one of the things the folks in this movie choose to do. That, however, is not one of my problems with Last Night. Now when I say I have problems with Last Night, I want to preface my grievances with this: I have seen this movie probably half-a-dozen times -- or more. In order for me to give up that many hours of my life to one movie, the movie needs to be pretty powerfully affecting. Last Night is that and then some. The final montage of the "end" for the people we've been following is very moving. No, my problems with Last Night lie elsewhere. I'll spare you a blow-by-blow, but I'll give you two pet peeves. First -- and this is about as petty as a pet peeve can get -- I am tremendously irritated by the fact that the world ends exactly at midnight. That's right, flixster friends, the world ends at 12:00 a.m. on the proverbial dot. And I think we all know that this is exactly how nature works . . . Okay, so that's a minor irritation. My major irritation is -- and I hate to be down on a fellow Korean -- Sandra Oh. I'm not universally down on Sandra Oh, but I am very specifically down on her here. Everyone is delivering lines in a truly believable way -- everyone except Sandra Oh. Is it her? The director? I don't think it can be the director. The directing, to me, is brilliant. If the directing truly sucked, everyone in Last Night would be acting as oddly as Oh. She's caught up in her own mind, I believe, with the "seriousness" of the end of the world, and for some peculiar reason, she feels she has to deliver all of her lines accordingly. It's not that she's over the top. It's more like she's stilted in her seriousness-ness. Sorry, Sister Oh, but that's the way I see it. Overall, however, -- and I really mean it -- this movie is well worth the watch.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2006
It's 6PM, and the world is about to end at midnight. How will you spend your last night? The final 30 seconds of this film made me want to give it 5 stars; I was that moved. Having a few days to sit on it, it's a very powerful piece of work, incredibly original, but comes just shy of being completely brilliant. As I can't narrow down exactly what is keeping this movie from earning the last star, sadly, I can only attribute it to personal preference and annoyance at the family scene.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2007
I LOVE this kind of thing; apocalypse, post-apocalypse, impending apocalypse... Some of the casting was a bit iffy, but the plot was fantastic. It explored just enough without going over the top and I loved that there was no explanation.
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2008
soooo good...simple premise, no special effects as the last few hours of earth tick down....the movie really heats up as it explores human motivations, behaviors and personal interactions right up till the final countdown....this will leave a lasting impression on you!
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2007
A brilliant quiet film.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2007
What would you do if this was undeniably the last night on Earth for the Human race? An interesting question and a good movie.
Super Reviewer
½ December 20, 2006
Think this film as your last day on Earth! Imagine what you can do!
November 22, 2015
Sometimes a movie doesn't necessarily have to tell you everything what it's about, simply just how it can go about the details and characters in its story. Case in point, Don McKellar's Canadian knocking-on-Apocalypse's-door flick, Last Night. Throughout the film, I was wondering if there would come a point where the revelation as to why or how the End of the World was coming around. There isn't any, or at least something that has a clear definition. But there are eerie signs of something just 'off', and it comes with the mere presence of the sun: at first I wasn't thrown off by the sun being out at 6 PM, even 7 PM (the time-span for Last Night is 6 hours, 6 PM to 12 AM on the dot)... but the sun doesn't set, it just stays there and doesn't go away. Now that's scary - and certainly convenient for a budgetary perspective.

This is a low-budget movie that takes the apocalypse as something serious, but not in every single moment. In fact McKellar's approach is to make this at times almost 'quirky', eccentric, and even awkward comedy. At one point Patrick, character McKellar himself plays, is having a big dinner with his family and some old family friends. The mother starts to cry at the table, but no one really goes to console her or to say anything, they just keep on eating the turkey and lamb she's prepared - this is the kind of scene I might expect on the TV show Louie, where misery turns out to be uproarious comedy all based on the timing and the personality of the characters in this dreadful situation (in other words it IS a serious moment, but funny because of the reactions and how people feel about one another in that moment). And there's a whole sub-plot with a character who has been, over two months, going through sexual conquests like a check-list... and he finally approaches his friend Patrick about being a, uh, part of that.

The main thrust of the story is how Patrick and Sandra (played by Sandra Oh, no name change apparently) go about their last 6 hours, with some assorted characters drifting in and out like Sarah Polley as one of Patrick's disaffected teenage siblings, and David Cronenberg as a bureaucrat going about his last business in a giant office to call people in this city to tell them about the gas staying on until 12 PM, with pretty much every call being a voicemail. But it's less about the story of it than just following these people and finding how they deal with this despair, or not deal with it, and while some go out in the streets and loot and kill and pillage (the film opens with Sandra's car being flipped over as she goes into an empty store to get some items for no good reason at all except it's apocalypse time, better flip some cars and stuff).

There is some dramatic power here too, though in small doses and in large part coming from Sandra Oh's performance (I'd forgotten how good she can be, such as in Sideways or on the HBO show Arliss, where she was good enough for me to remember decades on). She carries a lot of weight just by the nature of her circumstance: she has to find her husband so they can carry out their simple plan together at the stroke of midnight - not being able to find a car makes things further complicated, and Patrick makes interesting by how he reacts to her plight. He's not someone who is a super-take-charge kind of guy, but he's not about to sit in the corner with his family and give up either; he's the sort to approach everyone with some decency, even in the midst of befuddlement (i.e. being approached for sex by a male friend, in a sort of 'well, it's on my list and all' sort of rationale).

At times I wasn't sure if McKellar was great for the part he wrote for himself, but at other times I don't know if anyone else could play off the awkward tension and sense of sympathy (and empathy) he carries across. He gets good work out of everyone here, most notably Cronenberg - always an underrated actor - as the man who always followed the clock and still is following it until his end (my favorite scene in the film is when he is met with a young man with a gun in his hand, who isn't sure if he can shoot him, though he may just do that, one of those moments that FEELS so real and raw).

This is not to say every moment in the film entirely works, or that every attempt to be funny in its soft-cringe like manner is effective, and it actually takes a few minutes early on to gather some momentum. But there's a rhythm to it that is unique and there's a constant sense of 'let's try something you may not have seen before with a 'This is The End' story, down to its ambiguity around why things are ending (or for how long), and some of it comes down to it being so darn... Canadian. You may never see another apocalyptic movie with so many polite people!
½ October 2, 2014
Last Night is really about our control (or lack thereof) of the world around us. The literal end of the world is McKellar's impetus for everyone to realize how helpless they truly are. Visually the film is incredible and the performances are great, focused internally rather then on external bombast typical of the world-ending-in-disaster genre. It is poignant and darkly humorous, sometimes simultaneously. The human focus is also the film's weak point as well with a fairly narrow, nihilistic focus that, while exhibiting in different ways, is also laid fairly heavily across all the characters. Thought provoking nonetheless and worth more than one viewing
December 22, 2013
Oddly effective and beautiful examination of how several people spend their last hours on earth. Don McKellar proves to be powerful filmmaker. Both he and Sandra Oh give outstanding performances.
May 6, 2013
One of the best end of days movies ever. Lent my original Canadian DVD to a friend and it got lost in the mail upon return. A real tragedy considering how hard this movie is to find.
April 15, 2013
What would you do if you knew that the world was going to end at midnight? If we knew it was absolutely the last night on earth and we had ample warning, how would we spend it? Some would spend time with family and friends. Others wouldn't wait until midnight. Some would spend it in church. Some would settle old scores either with apologies or with a gun. Others would spend it on a sexual free-for-all. Many, I suspect, would turn to violence and destruction - that is, if I now humanity the way I think I do.

'Last Night' is an end-of-the-world scenario that examines how a group of individuals choose to spend their final hours on earth. Sandra (the wonderful Sandra Oh) spends all day trying to get back home to her husband Duncan (David Cronenberg) after her car is trashed by looters; Craig (Callum Keith Rennie) wants to spend the day living out all of his deepest sexual fantasies; Patrick (Don McKellar, the film's director) is a young widower who wants to spend his last evening at home listening to music; Sandra's husband Duncan owns the power station and spends his day waiting for Sandra by calling his customers to let them know that the power will remain on right to the end.

Those personal stories set this movie apart from most films about the end-times which tend to portray the end of the world as a disaster movie, with falling buildings, mass hysteria, looting and hyper-active special effects. This film is quiet because it focuses on personalities. I can imagine Robert Altman directing a movie like this.

It is directed instead by Don McKellar who shows a lot of restraint with this characters and his stories. The people act as real people would and talk as real people might. He sets the story in Toronto (this is a Canadian production) on an unknown date and never gives a reason for why the world is ending - the characters already know, so why sit around yapping about it? The sun never goes down, even at 10pm so we assume that the sun is about to go supernova (why exactly midnight is never revealed either). The mass looting has subsided because there is nothing left to steal. What looting remains only happens in the backgrounds of certain shots. There are no police anywhere and, we're told, the governments of the world shut down some time ago.

Those details in place, this is simply a movie about personalities. The most intriguing is Sandra who, I think, represents most of us. She has an agenda (one that isn't revealed until the third act) and her face is a mask of frustration as she attempts to find some mode of transportation to get across town and back to her husband. She's played by the wonderfully underrated Sandra Oh who is one of the most relaxed and natural actresses. I've seen her in films like Sideways and Rabbit Hole but there she reveals a whole different level. What is waiting for Sandra when she gets back with Duncan is painful, but even more is the issue of not getting being able to back to him. She as a promise to keep to him and it is killer her that she cannot fulfill it.

Nothing can bring about our faith nor our true nature like knowing that the end is near. That fact brings an odd unpredictability to Last Night because we get to know the characters but we wait to see the poignancy in their final moments. This is a sad film but not a maudlin one. The fact that director Don McKellar avoids the obvious melodramatic high point and just focuses on people and who they are makes the end of the film inevitable, unpredictable on a personal level and finally very touching.
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