In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our team favourites? Let us know your thoughts!
#3 – Last Night (1998)
What would you do if the world was ending at midnight? Patrick (played by writer and director Don McKellar) just wants to be alone as the apocalypse descends, but finds himself thwarted by his mother (who wants to re-enact Christmas for the last time), and desperate Sandra (Sandra Oh), who’s trying to get home to her husband to complete a suicide pact.
Meanwhile, Patrick’s friend Craig is on a desperate mission to fulfil all his unrealised sexual fantasies, gas company owner Duncan (David Cronenberg) is diligently calling every customer on his books to thank them for their patronage, and McKellar’s real-life wife Tracy Wright is a beaten down office worker at the gas company, left alone to man the office in humanity’s final hours.
Last Night follows the intersecting storylines of these characters as they plod towards Armageddon along the streets of Toronto, which has become a battleground of marauding (and, from the perspective of 2012, comically un-scary) punks and crazies, in riot scenes that are strangely familiar and ironic (forget the apocalypse – Canadians will riot over ice hockey!).
Alternating between bone dry humour and poignant pathos, Last Night is an antidote to the apocalypse genre where heroes flee collapsing cityscapes, and at the time of its release (1998) it was a welcome alternative to Hollywood’s rash of millennial apocalypse movies, like Schwarzenegger’s abysmal End of Days, and Y2K.
Instead of battling Satan or racing off to prevent nuclear meltdown, the characters in Last Night do something far more real at the end of times: they seek out some kind of a human connection amidst the banality of life trundling towards its end.
An affecting, very dark but also very funny film which stays with you long after the final scene, Last Night delivers a refreshingly realistic take on the age-old question: ‘what would you do if you knew the world was going to end at midnight?’
“Bare-bones filmmaking, Last Night is nothing special to look at, but it has a witty, trenchant script, lots of complicated characters, and a few actors who turn human frailty into something nearly sublime.” Amy Taubin – Village Voice
To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.