December 1, 2007

Last Days - $4

There are those who will love Last Days for the movie makers' courage, and for the originality with which this story is told. I am not one of those people.

I loved a few of the moments in this movie but overall I can't shake the feeling that Last Days was mostly a directionless voyeuristic movie that left me feeling very unsatisfied.

Last Days is loosely based on the final days of Kurt Cobain's life and mostly follows a character named Blake who is meant to be some sort of representation of Cobain. The movie is set in a large and beautiful house in which Blake is hiding from everyone and anyone. There are several friends he is allowing to stay in the house with him seemingly because they purposefully leave him alone and aid him in his desire to stay hidden.

Blake spends the movie in a daze, drifting in and out of sleep and in and out of the house and its many rooms. He is portrayed mostly as an absolute mess, mumbling to himself and at one point unable to carry out the simple task of making a bowl of cereal. Blake has his moments though, he writes and mumbles his thoughts in a notebook in a moment of inspiration and the bits of his inner monologue that are audible are deep and powerful. There are also a couple of incredible scenes where Blake is creating music by himself in the house and these glimpses into the creative mind and talent of his character are amazing.

I also especially enjoyed a scene which involved a Yellow Pages salesman coming to the door, in a case of mistaken identity he tries to sell ad space to Blake believing him to be the owner of a locomotive company.

Last Days is not a bad movie. Gus Van Sant has once again created a unique film experience and as I said earlier, there will be those who will love it. I appreciated parts of Last Days such as the cinematography where many things happen off camera and the audience is left listening and knowing exactly what is happening without seeing it. It undoubtedly took courage to make this movie.

For me though, besides some exceptional moments in the film, I was left waiting the entire time for a story to be told and I never felt like that was accomplished. There were some very small stories told in between long moments of nothing but overall Last Days just didn't have enough holding it together to make me enjoy it.

I hesitantly put Last Days on my 'Don't Watch It' list and give it a value of $4.

- Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree, I'm really curious to know how others of you interacted with this film.


nathan davies said...

first off i need to say that in my opinion van sant is one of the best directors working in the world right now. i believe i agree with your review. however i think i liked this movie more than you though. i loved the character of blake. his inability to connect with the world. whether it be with his roomates, or when he leaves the house near the end of the movie. there are so many people wanting something from him and he can't provide. whether because of drugs or because he doesn't want to. whether it be his daughter or people wanting him to make more music. the cinematography was great. it was such a tragic story. i guess i'm just a sucker for those. have you seen elephant and gerry? i do like those better, however last days was right up there for me too.

nathan davies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Tanti said...

I've seen Elephant and loved it but haven't seen Gerry yet. I will.

I don't really disagree with anything you said. There were moments in Last Days that blew me away but overall it just didn't come together for me.

Thanks for your thoughts nathan.

Jeff Coutts said...

I can understand your review Dave, although I'm not sure this is really a movie that's meant to be enjoyed. Other then a few great moments of creativity, it is over all very hopeless and lifeless . . . and I thinks that's the point. I'm not saying you didn't understand this, I'm just noticing by your criticism that I think this Van Sant did exactly what he set out to do.

Tony Tanti said...

Jeff, that's a valid point and really that's a big part of why I wasn't more critical. At the end of the day though I think every filmmakers should have a story to tell, that should be one of their main goals.

Van Sant achieved his goal of showing the directionless and sad existence of Blake in those final days but I didn't feel anything for him or the other characters, there was no story told. He hit the mood perfectly but told me nothing.

nathan davies said...

i felt everything for him.

Tony Tanti said...

why don't you just marry him then