Michael Scott

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Apr 4, 2017
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The Last Man


Movie: :2stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :halfstar:
Final Score: :3stars:


Films about PTSD suffering soldiers has become a bit of a thing in recent years. Max Martini just had his go at the subject with Sgt. Will Gardner, and before that the mediocre Man Down. Writer/Director Rodrigo H. Vila has a much different take on the PTSD ridden anti-hero genre with The Last Man. The film approach he takes is more saturated in Neo Noir arthouse with an absolutely unpleasant watching experience that just misses the mark so badly. The Argentinian director tries so desperately to make something profound and witty, but instead makes a blundering mess of a film that asks so many questions and is saturated in so much gray and covered over by Hayden Christensen’s dull monotone narration that the audience is just begging for the movie to end by the time the credits start rolling.

A brooding PTSD torn soldier named Kurt (Hayden Christensen) is haunted by the memories of his life in battle. Like many of his kind, he came home a broken shell of a man, unable to function in regular society, and lives his life on the slums of Argentina in the same home that he grew up in. However, as the narration by Kurt says, the world is about to end in 30 days and it’s up to him to try and survive it. Rewinding a bit earlier we see Kurt trying to survive on the streets, and is pulled in by a street preacher named Noe (Harvey Keitel, with an incredibly one note role) who claims that an electrical storm is going to eliminate all life on earth as we know it in a few months. Not sure if he should believe the old man, Kurt decides to turn his crummy house into a veritable fortress…..just in case.

The bunker idea comes to a half when Kurt runs out of funds, which are needed for more food and supplies for his ever growing obsession with the street preacher. Taking a job for a shady security firm, Kurt ends up falling for the boss’s daughter Jessica (Liz Solari), a sultry seductress who plays the miserable role of femme fatale in the film. Like all femme fetales, she is the damsel in distress needing saving, complete with an awkward romance that culminates in one of the most unintentionally hilarious sex scenes that I’ve ever seen in a movie (seriously, it took every ounce of self control not to bust up laughing when it came up). Only thing is, he’s framed for stealing money, and the boss is after him for the stolen funds, forcing the soldier to go to war once more to protect himself and the woman he loves.
Rodrigo H. Vila seems obsessed as well as Kurt. Except he’s obsessed with making a film that’s so bleak, so bland, so gray and artsy that he gets so up his own film that he can’t find his way out. The Last Man is an unpleasant film to watch, and one that has so many technical flaws that I don’t know where to begin. I kind of like Hayden Christensen and feel he’s been unfairly treated in film roles, but The Last Man really does him no favors. He mopes into the microphone the entire film, giving us such a dull and unexciting performance as Kurt that we don’t seem to form a bond with him at all.

Vila is also obsessed with keeping things enigmatic and cryptic throughout the film. He constantly raises the questions of “Is Kurt really just imagining this?”, “Is the end of the world nigh?”, “or is this just all a mental issue in the PTSD ridden soldier’s brains, and we’re all watching him fall apart”? All of these questions get dangled like carrots in front of the viewer’s eyes, but nothing ever clues you in to any resolution. Vila seems to want the viewer to ask the questions, then revels in not answering them, considering that “high art” instead. It’s a frustrating experience and makes the movie so unimaginably unlikable.


Rated R for language throughout, violence and some sexuality/nudity

Video: :3.5stars:
Vila uses a very bleak, very gray/blue looking color filter to the movie. So much that it saps just about every ounce of color out of the film except for a few minor flecks here and there. On that I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. The Last Man is so devoid if any color outside of gray and blue that it’s actually a bit shocking when you see a fleck of color in the night sky or the burst of flame from a pistol muzzle. The detail levels suffer as a result, as the bland film just doesn’t have the energy to muster up a whole lot of nuances. The general clarity of the film is more than acceptable, and there’s a decent amount of shadow detail, but the bleak look of the movie combined with some banding keep it from looking any better than just acceptable.

Audio: :4stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is a bit better though. The film is very dialog intensive, and there’s not a whole lot of surround activity for decent chunks of the run time, but when called upon the chaotic sounds of a storm, or the thundering power of a gunshot ring out with authority. The score itself provides most of the rear ward audio, with a strong bass line that permeates the entirety of the movie, and adds some SERIOUS weight when the storm itself starts to crash and bang around the listener. The dialog is crisp and cleanly replicated, with the only fault being that Hayden Christensen has a bad habit of mumbling a lot, and the Argentinian accents sometimes were a bit hard to hear. Otherwise it’s a very solid track that is the best part of the whole film.

Extras: :halfstar:
• Theatrical Trailer
• Previews for Lionsgate Films

Final Score: :3stars:

The Last Man is a burdensome affair, with a really weak performance by both Keitel and Christensen, forcing me to just lose all caring for the movie within a short time span. I really WANTED to like The Last Man as Rodgriga H. Vila had been hyping the film up for so long, claiming it as his artistic masterpiece. Sadly what we end up with is a turgid movie that is so banal and unpleasant to sit through I honestly was happy when I saw the credits start to roll. The Blu-ray itself is solid by Lionsgate standards, but is hampered by the visual style of Vila as well as a distinct lack of any extras whatsoever. It’s a good try by the Argentinian director, but it falls far short of its lofty goals. Skip It.

Technical Specifications:

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Hayden Christensen, Marco Leonardi, Liz Solari, Justin Kelly, Fernan Miras
Directed by: Rodrigo H. Vila
Written by: Rodrigo H. Vila, Gustavo Lencina
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 12h, 2019

Recommendation: Skip It



AV Addict
Jul 13, 2017
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Thanks for the review. Will skip it based on your recommendation.
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