Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Last 2 Movies I've Seen: No. 1: Last Night

I seem to be on a roll of seeing movies in the actual cinema of late. I'm mildly impressed with myself and have decided to review whatever I see in an attempt to make myself see more movies. I'm bullying myself basically.

Last Night

Myself and my flatmate watched the trailer for this only last week and suddenly I realised it was out in the cinema. Can't you tell that I'm on top of my movie news? Ahem. Anyway, the subtly sexy trailer and strong cast really made me want to see how it would all unfold. 

A low key relationship drama, it sees young couple Joanna (Keira Knightley) and Michael (Sam Worthington) squabble over Michael's interest in a glamourous new co-worker Laura (Eva Mendes), before he heads on a business trip. While Michael spends time away from home Joanna bumps into an old flame Alex (Guillaume Canet) and soon finds herself ruminating on a love affair that never was while her husband flirts with temptation. 

The plot, what little there is, does not neccessarily drive this slow burning romantic drama. Ultimately, despite some neat cameos, this is a foursome with Knightley and Canet weaving flirtatious rings around each other while Worthington and Mendes hammer out a tentative but intense bond. Last Night isn't afraid to play with audience expectations and build tension and once it gets past a stiff and overly talk opening act, it crafts plenty of romantic and melancholic moments. 

Knightley and Worthington clash more than they sizzle as a couple but once they meet their respective temptations that seems to be the point. Both Joanna and Michael reveal whole new sides to their personalities when they meet their prospective lovers. But, this isn't a movie about a couple cheating on each other and to say any more would ruin much of the enjoyment. 

What this film does deliver is a engrossing portrait of love and desire and lets a fine ensemble play to their strengths. Knightley is jittery and beguiling as she revels in the easy charm of Canet's character while Worthington plays an emotionally complex male understandbly unnerved by the confident yet subtle sexuality of Mendes' Laura. Writer/director Massy Tadjedin has created a movie that doesn't patronise the audience and so you'll find yourself playing out a fair few moral dilemmas in your own head throughout.

A clear attempt at counter programming a summer of noisy action flicks, boisterous comedies and superhero flicks Last Night is an intelligent and powerful drama piece. While not quite as clever as it likes to think it is it offers up some interesting characters and has a hypnotic, easy rhythm that will draw you in. 

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