Monday, 13 September 2010
TIFF 2010 - Last Night
Last Night (2010) dir. Massy Tadjedin
Starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet and Griffin Dunne
By Greg Klymkiw
There are many detestable things about Last Night, but for me, the worst offence is that it might eventually overtake and/or be confused with Don McKellar's moving, powerful, exquisite and near-perfect gem of a film from 1998 in TV Guide listings and internet searches. That said, I suspect these fears are unfounded since McKellar's film has a universal, original quality that will far outlast Massy Tadjedin's execrable non-entity which, I sincerely believe will be long forgotten soon after it afflicts the world with its inconsequential presence. At worst, Tadjedin's picture, by boneheadedly filching the title, besmirches only itself.
Okay, so I won't torture you too much. I'll also not bother referring to Tadjedin's aborted fetus of the celluloid kind by title anymore.
A gorgeous, wealthy New York couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington) in their sumptuous only-in-the-movies New York luxury apartment burst the bubble of complacency in their relationship when they argue and then, during a twenty four hour period of being on their own, are faced with the prospect of indulging in extra-marital flings with Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet respectively. As the film progresses, (or rather, plods along), we are assaulted with interminable vacuous conversations of the should-we-or-shouldn't-we variety against the backdrop of high-end locations in NYC and Philadelphia. The couples gaze longingly at each other, make ever-so tentative moves until eventually, something vaguely happens.
Why on Earth anyone thought this would make a good picture is anyone's guess. Why on Earth anyone would bother seeing it, is yet another. And finally, why it landed a closing night berth at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival is yet another.
Three of the four leading actors (Knightley, Worthington and Canet) do their utmost to flesh out non-existent characters and while there's a pubic hair's worth of engagement on seeing them strut their stuff, one mostly feels sorry for their efforts. Eva Mendes looks great, but she seem completely out of place - her discomfort is obvious and her line readings hit the floor with resounding thuds.
The movie comes briefly alive in two instances. The first is seeing Keira Knightley plodding around in various states of undress and the second is the appearance of the truly great actor Griffin Dunne. When Knightley and Canet proceed to a fashionable resto to engage in drinkies and chit-chat with another couple, the male half of the unit is played with delicious salaciousness by Dunne, and I wondered why the movie couldn't have just followed him. It's the only interesting character in the film from a writing standpoint and Dunne commands the screen so brilliantly and daringly, that he pretty much blows everyone and everything away. It reminded me of his great sense of humour and all I could finally think about is how much I miss seeing him in movies on a regular basis. What's neat is that he's aged so terrifically since American Werewolf in London and Scorsese's After Hours - there's a cool, sexy, slightly world-weary (yet all knowing) maturity to him now.
If anything, maybe this awful movie will be enough to inspire a Griffin Dunne reunion with Scorsese.
Imagine it: Dunne, Pesci and DeNiro in a new Scorsese picture.
Imagine it while you're watching this piece of garbage.