The closing chapter in Gus Van Sant's teen death trilogy supposes the final hours of a rock legend.

Blake (Michael Pitt) is Kurt Cobain in all but name, wearing the same lank mane and trademark grungy threads. No prizes for guessing how it all ends, but Nirvana fans, expecting an explosive, glorified blow out will be sorely disappointed. Instead, Van Sant's powerful screenplay presents an incoherent, smacked-out recluse, incapable of making sense of anything, except a packet of macaroni cheese. Indeed, it's only when the Blake-fixing-lunch sequence becomes such a powerful moment in the film that you realise the full extent of the director's depressive vision. At every stage, he has pared back dialogue and plot to reveal his subject's abject desperation.

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The downside to the Van Sant's bold intent is that interminably long, silent sequences can themselves bring on suicidal tendencies. Last Days is not an easy film to watch. Isolated in his crumbling mansion, Blake is slow moving and largely incoherent. Only the occasional lighter moment, in particular the appearance of a Yellow Pages salesman (real-life salesman Thadeus A Thomas) momentarily quickens the pace.

But persistence brings its own rewards. Last Days doesn't have the shock factor of, say, Elephant, but as a beautifully shot, slow burning study of fame and depression, it leaves you with an overwhelming appreciation of life and death. That, in itself, is a rare triumph.

Reviewed on: 02 Sep 2005
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The final hours of a rock legend.
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Themroc ****

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Gus Van Sant

Starring: Michael Pitt, Lukas Haas, Asia Argento, Scott Green, Ricky Jay, Kim Gordon

Year: 2005

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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