‘Last Night’; Cast: Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Keira Knightley, Guillaume Canet; Director: Massy Tadjedin; Rating: **** – a poignant tale of temptation.
One of the most complex monsters to handle in the world, is a man-woman relationship. That complexity is further intensified in our world today where communication has become easy, and old world morality and ideas of fidelity have no place in it.
‘Last Night’ is a film perfectly situated in our modern world. It is a deceptively and disarmingly simple story peppered with everyday incidents, many of which would have happened in many urban men and women’s lives.
On the same night that Michael (Sam Worthington) is trying hard to beat temptation of a colleague, his wife (Keira Knightley) encounters an ex-lover and is faced with a similar dilemma. As the night progresses, desires ripen and the four people are forced to look deep into their lives, their relationships and the meaning they attach to it, and fidelity.
Make no mistakes, ‘Last Night’ is totally an urban movie. Though set in New York, it is a story that is playing along everyday in thousands of cities of the world, with of course results similar, or different than this.
What, however, really works for the film is its simplicity.
It could have lost its way in a lot of twists and turns and mood swings and the gimmickry that can go with intelligent writers handling the story.
The film steers clear of these land mines and plot traps quite convincingly, giving you a tale that may seemingly not have too much new to offer, but would leave you thinking about many things.
Writer director (debutante) Massy Tadjedin handles the uneasy tension, the quiet blushes and the obvious discomfort of people handling the fireball of temptation stuck somewhere between their hearts, heads and groins with grace and poignancy. It is this minimalism that is the greatest quality of the film.
In a world of temptation where hoardings and ads everywhere thrust sex and promiscuity right into our faces, the film raises some interesting questions.
Should sexual fidelity even be the basis of relationships anymore? Can we be truly faithful when we are bound to be attracted to many people in our lives? If yes, for how long? How long can one hold on? Is it even wrong if two committed people don’t do so?
In its well-crafted back-stories and gentle pace, the film packs in well-intentioned, urban people confronted with temptation.
The lack of any melodrama or any unnecessary tension or scenes between the lovers, make it poignant.
Clint Mansell’s gentle score lingers in the background like an unrequited desire. All the four actors hold their parts and the blushes, desires and discomfort that go with it, fairly well.
One of the main reasons to not like the film would be that you would identify with a few or many of these fleeting moments and temptations depicted in the film. Contrarily, that would also be the reason many would like it. The director could have forced the choice, but she leaves it up to you to make up your mind.