In what might be David Cronenberg’s largest acting role, the meister of body horror delivers a typically subdued and thoughtful performance, and complements a quirky, emotional drama, what might altogether be the greatest apocalypse film of all time.
That is, apocalypse without the post — while better than many post-apocalypse movies, Last Night is relatively unique in being before the bang. And just as ‘unique’ must exist without a modifier, Last Night co-exists with several like it, but this is independent film sensibility as applied to science-fiction template.
Don’t go — trust me, I hate that sensibility too. Not just the stereotypically self-important, know-nothing, is-nothing post-Clerks can of garbage repackaged, thrown away, packaged once more, and discarded with futile finality, but for the sheer boringness. Now, ‘boring’ is a criticism any self-respecting critic is careful to use, because it tends to endow the film in question a mystique it doesn’t deserve, but the movies I nebulously reference here are boring as product of being ‘write-what-you-know’ straight outta film school bullshit.
You know who did a good one of those? John Singleton, in 1991 coming out of UCLA. At the end of the composition of Boyz N the Hood, Singleton cried. Turns out he actually had a story to tell — that much is evident on screen. But I don’t trust John Q. Dickhead over here who threw Syd Field’s Screenplay into the trash and then blasted Final Draft with barely extrapolated memoir bursts from the mind of a middle-class, college-educated blando kalrissian douche asshole.
Nor the filmmakers who started out that way.
As a big fan of actors, I’ve been burned countless times (three times) on movies headlining actors I like that were nothing! I will not name names, but these are movies with no character, no story — the only thing that remains on that celluloid (because it would have to be celluloid, right? [anti-douche is still douche, you prick]) is the sensibility.
So how the fuck do I like this movie?
Even if Don McKellar is taking from his life, which he may or not be, this is a perfect premise to do so. If these fuckheads I’m theorizing about above really want to ask “who am I?” then do it in an interesting way! Just like with this movie, which posits a scenario where layers of ourselves are stripped away.
The most affecting and heart-breaking moment is when his male friend of many years asks if he’d like to have sex with him. In a movie about the end of the world, such a fantastical thing is best realized like this, without cold statistics or aerial shots of panic, but zooming into human people, and seeing them as more human than they even knew was possible.
I love David Cronenberg, and I love him as an actor. I’ve read too many repetitive interviews to keep trying, so I’ll put the task out to you — if you can find anyone asking him about his acting, I’d love to know what he says.
Especially if he talks about Jason X.