Found myself awake in the wee hours this morning, and as sometimes happens, I caught all but the first few minutes of an engrossing and thought-provoking film: Last Night, an indie film out of Canada which starred the sigh-inducing Sandra Oh and a host of others, including Sarah Polley and David Cronenberg in small roles.
Night was written in response to a Toronto film competition in which filmmakers were invited to do a story dealing with the upcoming millennium. Actor/director/scriptwriter Don McKellar instead decided to make a movie which dealt with not only the end of the millennium but the end of the world itself as well, and its effect on not only the city of Toronto, but a specific group of people and how they spent their last few hours. Many indulge in pleasures of the flesh, as you can imagine; others choose to spend it with family and friends, reminiscing. Oh's character is a young married woman who is trying to get back to her home across town so she can fulfill a suicide pact that she made with her husband...but she's attacked and her car is wrecked, and she must find a way to get across town before midnight. She encounters a young man (McKellar) who has just endured the loss of his girlfriend and simply wants to meet the end alone, with wine and music. He's willing to help her find another car, but that's all he wants. Another man, a friend of McKellar's character, has been striving for the previous two months to indulge himself in every kind of sex that he's ever wanted and most of the laughs in the film come from his quest. Of course, most of the main characters encounter each other in some fashion, but it's always believable and not contrived.
Unlike many end-of-the-world-scenario flicks, there's no action sequences or special-effects laden set pieces; it's a studied, thoughtful approach throughout. The film is a tad slow sometimes because of it, but fortunately there's enough humor and plot twists to keep one's interest. I found it fascinating all the way up to the end, and there's a scene to finish the film that is very powerful, between McKellar and Oh on the roof of his apartment using that rotating camera-type shot that's been used to death since, but it's used to great effect here. '
If you should happen to catch this film some night or see it on Netflix, take a chance. You'll be surprised, I think. And even if you're not, there's plenty of Sandra Oh!