- Movie Review:
- Massy Tadjedin
Joanna suspects Michael is cheating on her with a beautiful coworker Laura (Mendes) when she watches them interact with each other at an office party, and questions him about it.
Last Night is a drama/romance written and directed by Massy Tadjedin and stars Keira Knightley (Never Let Me Go, Pirates of the Caribbean films), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans (2010)), Guillaume Canet (Love Me If You Dare), and Eva Mendes (Training Day, The Other Guys). The film is about a married couple attempt at resisting adulterous temptation.
If there aren’t already enough films that cover pretty much the same topic of infidelity or the laws of attraction, there are even more films that make attempts at justifying insatiable behavior–or forces us to watch to make us feel bad for lovers experiencing the allure of unbridled pleasures of the flesh. We can either learn something; or we can continue on, imperfect for the next film that will hopefully enlighten the meek and persuade us to, again, reconsider monogamy as the ultimate catalyst for passion.
Such is the dilemma our married couple Michael (Worthington) and Joanna (Knightly). Joanna suspects Michael is cheating on her with a beautiful coworker Laura (Mendes) when she watches them interact with each other at an office party, and questions him about it. He, of course, denies that anything had ever happened between him and Laura–well… it hadn’t, but he does not deny the attraction, as it is natural. However, Joanna, Michael’s wife begins to feel bad because as it is normal for a woman to “suspect” her husband or lover of infidelity. We women seem to be more honest with ourselves, and we should delight in taking credit for it.
It just so happens that Michael has to take a business trip away and, of course, Laura will have to accompany him. Joanna, feeling guilty for accusing her husband of cheating, she slips a note in his luggage. Just as quickly as he boards a train to Philadelphia, she runs into a former lover, Alex Mann (Guillaume Canet), who views her as the one who got away. Now, for Joanna, this ‘attraction’ to Alex is different. She rationalized Alex as her ‘go-between’ when she and Michael are apart–although it was a few years ago. Alex never lost his love for Joanna, and it is certain neither has she. The two manage to understand the importance of what was and what is. Something Michael is having difficulty in understanding is his potentially adulterous actions.
The movie went on back and forth, inconsistently, and the more interesting a story–between Joanna and Alex–went underdeveloped and quite neglected. It was more interesting watching the two of them interact with each other; rather than the cat and mouse game between Laura and Michael; it was so obvious what was going to occur between the two of them, still allowing Laura (Mendes) any sort of dialogue to rationalize her involvement with a married man was pointless. However, I will commend Mendes for being what she usually is in movies, beautiful to look at but adds zero value to screen time. Worthington– not necessarily a proper fit for his role as well–is much better defending the Na’vi in Avatar from greedy corporate entrepreneurs or rolling heads in the Clash of the Titans (2010).
Now the true “heaviness” of this film was during the relationship between Joanna and Alex. There is something there left unfinished. This might have saved this film for being predictable–regurgitated complex relationships where the obvious will happen, and what should have did not. Guillaume Canet as Alex performed with such restraint that you could practically see the poor guy aching for Joanna. I remember watching the film Love Me If You Dare, starring Canet, and it seems that he’s the right fit when it comes to playing a guy who is ‘aching’ for a long ago lover, as it suits him rather well. Knightly, as usual, has a powerful, and emotive impact on screen and the role seemed a bit small for her presence. Either way, the relationship between Alex and Joanna held my interest in this film. The rest of it could have fallen to the at the waist.
I think what some director’s repeatedly forget to keep an eye on the imbalances of on-screen lovers or romantic relationships between men and women and it has to be treated as this: the word love or “feeling” in-love, interpreted by women, is different. Men do not love the same as women do. By this, I mean men can only appreciate the happiness they feel or given by a woman; and women, could only appreciate the happiness they can give. So it was natural in this film for Michael to ‘feel‘ attracted to Laura; as it is also natural for Laura to want to ‘give‘ into that relationship, as it was such a naturally desired effect. This is the natural power a beautiful woman will always have over men.
The film depicts the difficulties, realisms, and inadequacies in relationships. The conflictive relationships in Last Night, if were executed carefully, would have presented these temptations and love as the intended backdrop in the film, which were just too obvious of an indicator in the film and may have worked a bit better, had it maintained the significant subtleties of the relationship between Joanna and Alex. Unfortunately, I also had to endure the banal relationship between Michael and Lauren. You may have to involve yourself–or another person–and ask if they believed who actually was “cheated” on in this film, one or the other? Which may prove to be more of an engaging conversation, in addition, to just watching the film.
Last Night’s Blu-ray special features included full high definition, offering a clear and consistent 1080p with fine object detail; the picture quality is absolutely perfect. The audio 5.1 Dolby track, which is pretty good as this was an audio / dialogue driven film, so there wasn’t much detail in this to offer in the film, although the audio quality is very good. There aren’t any additional extra features, other than the digital copy and the ability to view the menu while still watching the film.
Image credit courtesy of: Echo Bridge Entertainment/Miramax
- editor rating2
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