One Last Night


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

One Last Night
"None of the characters' choices are very convincing in a project that feels more like a film school exercise than a serious attempt at connecting with an audience." | Photo: Asa Pictures

There's a balancing act to be struck in romantic comedies. Make the protagonists too lovable and nobody will understand why they're single. Make them too obnoxious and nobody will root for them. In between these twin peaks of failure lies a perilous swamp of blandness. the obvious way to avoid sinking into it, to create interest in characters whom we can't actually love or dislike - at least not to begin with - is to make it quirky, and that's what One Last Night aims for.

Enter Alex (Luke Brandon Field), a frustrated creative artist and mediocre manager of an inherited business who styles himself on Hugh Grant "but not as foppish." He's on a date with Zoe (Rachele Schank), whom he met through an app but already seems really keen on. In case we fail to catch this, little doodles appear on the screen to tell us what characters are thinking and fill us in on their emotional state. Some viewers might find this patronising but for younger generations, who are used to many aspects of life have a text commentary, it makes more sense, and our two protagonists are very much part of that generation: cue despair when Zoe realises she can't find her phone.

As they're in a cinema, phones have been out of use for a little while, no least because Zoe, unimpressed, dozed through half the film. Once they realise that they're the only people left in the cinema, however, the absence of a convenient communication device becomes more of a problem. The staff have gone. The doors are locked. Zoe quickly becomes aggravated, anxious about getting to work. Alex tries to cheer her up by making a 'meal' out of what he can find in the box office. He's determined to make a success of this date in spite of everything. Can he still win over the girl of his dreams?

Naturally, there's more going on here than first meets the eye.

Schank works fairly well as Zoe, gradually bringing more depth to a character who could easily have been just a complainer. Field struggles to bring equivalent charm to a character some of whose behaviour would, in real life, probably result in a call to the police. They're both blown off the screen by Ali Cobrin in a supporting role which thankfully expands as the film develops, but none of the characters' choices are very convincing in a project that feels more like a film school exercise than a serious attempt at connecting with an audience. Zoe, in particular, undergoes such a dramatic shift in priorities halfway through that one wonders if she's on drugs.

This is very much a film for people who are themselves connected with arts (or want to be), with lots of little inside jokes and gentle send-ups which work well enough in their own right but fail to cohere into anything substantial. There's a directionlessness about the whole thing that's likely to leave viewers wondering if they, too, ought to be checking the exits. Is this the beginning of something magical? Perhaps, but despite its determined little sparks of wit and glossy cinematography, it's woefully short on magic of its own.

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2019
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One Last Night packshot
On their first date, Alex and Zoe venture out to see a movie at a local cinema. The film ends and the two become so engaged in a heated discussion that they fail to notice the cinema closing, leaving them locked inside.

Director: Anthony Sabet

Writer: Anthony Sabet, Matt DeMarco

Starring: Rachele Schank, Luke Brandon Field, Brian Baumgartner

Year: 2018

Runtime: 84 minutes

Country: US


San Diego 2018

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