The Last Human

The Last Human


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

A thousand years in the future, Earth has been devastated by the effects of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun. This has created a rift in time which threatens to wipe out the whole history of life on Earth. Only one person can travel back to the beginnings of the world to try to set things right.

Despite a simple storyline in which nothing very much happens, The Last Human stands shoulder to shoulder with the greats of science fiction cinema when it comes to style, emotional impact and moral weight. It's a stunning example of what can be achieved in a short timeframce, working with a low budget. Yes, some of the fooage has been contributed by NASA but it makes for a striking opening; likewise, the film's heavy use of CGI is entirely appropriate in context. It's never overplayed and the presence of familiar devices (a variant on the lighting-framed time travel from The Terminator, the use of projected holo-screens as in Cloud Atlas) speaks to a consistent vision of the future rather than a dependency on others' successes. All these details are subtly reworked to give the film a character of its own.

The setting is an evocative one – a rocky shore, bare cliffs looming behind it. Whilst we know it's probably the only suitably barren-looking area the filmmakers could access, it works perfectly within the confines of the story. Intelligently overlayed images and a superb score pth and context, and help us to relate to the central character even when all we can see is a blank faceplate. Excellent costume and prop design complete the effect – but it's when the helmet comes off and the lead actor finally has the chance to make eye contact with the audience that the film really hits home. Recorded snatches of conversation hint at what has been lost, making this obscure tale into a very human story.

Short films like this are often treated as calling cards within the indutry, and on the basis of The Last Human, producers should be rushing to sign up its star and crew. It is also, however, a film that deserves to be admired directly by audiences, and it would make the perfect supporting feature for any number of genre classics. If you get the chance, I urge you to check it out.

Reviewed on: 22 Mar 2013
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On a barren planet, the last remaining human strives to implant dna and seed new life in the universe before it's too late.

Director: Tom Walsh

Year: 2012

Runtime: 6 minutes

Country: UK


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