The Last of England - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last of England Reviews

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½ September 21, 2015
A spiritual sibling to Terence Davies' more accessable Of Time and the City, Jarman's The Last of England similarly serves as visually poetic and angry indictment of England's oppressive and traditionalist tendencies, albeit in a more experimental way and with a more specific point of criticism (Thatcher-era politics). His film is filled with chaotic imagery, shots of bloody bodies, rampant drug use, boarded-up windows, a nightmarish rendering of contemporary British life set in the ruins of a once great empire. He interworks archival footage shot through a rosy lens and juxtaposes it with present-day destruction, signifying the end of the classic ideal of British imperialism, while making room for his signature portrayals of gay existence as a means of resistance. The shopping carts stranded in polluted rivers, the spoken word segments detailing political corruption, the scenes of man in a tutu dancing over the sounds of gunfire and 80s music all work together to convey the central criticism of the country's staunch religious and traditionalist tendencies and how they strand the nation in a ruin of its own creation.
March 9, 2015
This is NOT a Tilda Swinton movie, despite what the blurb says. She makes a brief, wordless appearance late in the movie and that's it. My guess is that, when she became well-known, someone resurrected the movie and put her name up front, in the hope of making a few bucks. The movie itself, umm, well, how can I describe it? It's an hour and a half of visual images, with a voice-over recitation of what I suppose I might call neo-Beat poetry. Do you like "Revolution No. 9"? Have you ever listened to it and paid attention right through? Then you might enjoy this flick.
January 22, 2014
A non-narrative film named after an 1850's painting about people emigrating from England. Basically a video collage, a nightmare put to film. Once billed "apocalypse as [music] video", the strange, disparate images and sounds collide in a bizarrely captivating way. "Signs of struggle are everywhere. A punk in torn jeans walks through a landscape of destruction, stomping the last vestiges of civilization; a baby lies in a carriage lined with newspapers proclaiming imminent doom. A bride lies dressed in tatters; the groom faces a firing squad. A man dressed as a terrorist and a naked man embrace on a bed covered with a Union Jack, with wine bottles and guns scattered around them." Weird and haunting.
½ June 15, 2013
This is widely considered to be an unwatchable film. And I'd say that would be true for 90% of the world's population. This is my first viewing and it will stay that way for a long time. A solid understanding of Britain's history may help but the experience will take a lot out of you. This is not recommended for anyone outside those who know and understand what they are about to watch (i.e., those who know what Derek Jarman represents)......and even then you may find yourself wondering WTF is going on and WTF you are still watching it (if you made it all the way through; it took me two sittings to finish). This is one of the most extreme and bewildering experimental art films I have laid eyes on and normally I'll eat anything up like this, but it never worked outside the beginning episode of spoken poetry and the final scenes with Tilda Swinton; everything in between serves to infuriate, confuse, and bore the viewer into submission (this certainly would have worked better as a short film; 90 min. is almost pure torture with constant images that are the same, yet different, and the constant super-quick cuts of under 0.5 second are jarring in a bad way). I'm sure I'm missing a lot and future viewing(s) will be necessary but I refuse to revisit this one anytime soon.
½ March 6, 2013
I've discovered as I make my way further through my list of movies that I have a low tolerance for experimental film. But most especially for experimental film that's as self-indulgent and repetitive as this. This isn't symbolism, nor even Symbolism, but SYMBOLISM. And then, five seconds later, "do you remember us talking about SYMBOLISM? Because HERE IT IS AGAIN!!!!"
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2012
An impressionistic portrait of decaying late-80s Britain by avant-garde filmmaker Derek Jarman, THE LAST OF ENGLAND is an obscure and highly personal mixture of poetry, music, overlapping dialogue, and ever-shifting, manipulated, distorted images. Poetic and highly impressive, but after ninety minutes of rambling beauty mixed with tedium, it reminds you why shorts are the preferred vehicle for abstract experimental films.
September 25, 2012
An experimental and highly disturbing embodiment of a time at which, in Jarman's opinion, Britain was descending into chaos.
Super Reviewer
½ January 12, 2012
Argh!!! People would attribute such praise to this film?
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2010
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Derek Jarman, "The Last of England" is different from his other films that I have seen("Edward II", "Wittgenstein" & "Caravaggio") which all had a minimalist aesthetic. This is certainly a unique movie which consists almost entirely of footage showing a postapocalyptic landscape, sometimes through a red filter, but also flashing back to to happier times and New York City. There is no real story to speak of, just some narration to convey alternating emotions of sadness and anger. The images are so intense that the overall effect is quite mesmerizing. [/font]
September 9, 2009
So yeah, I'm not going lie, I wanted to see this movie because it had Tilda in and I'm a bit fan because I think she's hot. X^D

I do like artsy and strange surreal films in general, but the pacing of this particular movie was very slow. I know this was supposed to be the commentary of the director's vision of England under Thatcher's rule, but that's not what I got out of it. It seemed to me like a vision of a post-apocalyptic England if the Germans had won instead of the Allies during WWII. That's how I saw it anyways. *shrugs.* I was kinda let down by the last scene . . . thought we'd see some naked Tilda. X^D Favorite scenes in order: 1: guy frotting Carravagio painting 2: terrorists(?) frotting on Union Jack. I just like frott, not the offensive nature of sex on England's flag, so don't get me wrong. X^DDD 3: probably the guy dancing with the horns and tutu; a distant 4: would be Tilda's scenes just because she was in them ;^)

All in all this movie was pretty depressing, which I also liked. I still think the pacing was too slow though so and some of the imagery too disjointed so I gave it 2 1/2 stars. I just can't imagine England was that bad under Margaret Thatcher's rule . . . X^D I mean seriously. Was it???
March 6, 2009
Some of the visions of violence are so jarring, those of decay so haunting that we almost forget that there is *no story* to explain the apparent social collapse of Thatcher's Britain--and how much of a problem this is when director Jarman presumes to make a political statement about that time and place.
October 12, 2008
Best movie I've seen in 2008. Unique, it made me feel less lonely.
½ August 20, 2008
Pretty good; reminiscent of Kenneth Anger and (early) Buñuel, with an apocalyptic, UK peace punk/industrial music kind of feel. Soundtrack contributions from Barry Adamson and Diamanda Galàs. Good early Tilda Swinton appearance. Bits of it drag and go nowhere, which tends to happen with this kind of psychedelia, and the poetry at the opening is not stellar.
July 14, 2008
A unique vision of 80's England, culture, future and post-apocalyptic decay. Jarmans visual scope and construction of images is devastatingly powerful.
July 7, 2008
A stylistically sporadic film poetry depicting the violent subjective undercurrent of a radical-turned-intellectual (an elderly figure with pen & papers, narrating throughout the film) whose anger directs towards his country's constitution, rebuking its war decisions, economic structure, and social idealism as oppression responsible for national decay.
As I interpreted it, the film is an exploitation of the movement's traumatic ineffectuality. The youths who exhibited violent resistances will find themselves in an irresolute void as time would reveal their tarnished cause.
But all was not lost; what emerged for the radical veterans was an intense individualization derived from the intimate "way of life" they lived. And because of this unique dynamics between shame and distinctive splendor, the film times to times is able to match the solemnity of bleak masterpieces, despite its punk rock appearance.
May 19, 2008
I found this art film/documentary to be pretty mentally exhausting if I'm honest. Some of it I understood, some of it I didn't get. At times it was thought-provoking, at others, jarring. Ultimately, I'm glad I've seen it, but I doubt that I'll put myself through it again.
May 9, 2008
amazing. visual perfection!
April 18, 2008
I have little clue as to how to think about this film -- but you have to admire Jarman for being brave enough to make it.
April 11, 2008
un long poeme deroutant. j'aurais du etre plus attentif a ce que disait le narrateur au debut du film, ca m'aurait peut-etre aide'. peut-etre pas...
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