Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Last Days (2005)

Michael Pitt does a great stoner

Genre: Experimental Music Drama

Starring: Michael Pitt (Murder by Numbers; Bully), Lukas Haas (Lathe Of Heaven; Brick)

Directed By: Gus Van Sant (Gerry; Elephant)

Overview: This third installment of Gus Van Sant's cinematographic trilogy, Last Days is a dramatic parallel of the final days of Kurt Cobain.

Acting: The part of Blake, as played by Michael Pitt, was very convincing. He plays someone 'on the nod' very well, does a great job of being eccentric and forlorn without seeming suicidal. There's no real signs of the end for this character, except for his own natural personality. A very subtle yet powerful role by all. Gus is big on characters and acting. I knew this would do well.
Rating: 9

Cinematography: The look, or more specifically the framing and the camerawork is what this film focuses on. Like with Gerry and Elephant, Gus attempts to bring us the lens perhaps more than the story. Sadly, I found that this was the weakest of the trilogy, including in the cinematography, but this is a successful attempt at high art.
Rating: 8

Script: "Do you talk to your daughter? Do you say, 'I'm sorry that I'm a rock & roll cliché'?"

Half the movie is Blake high on smack, mumbling to himself or to others. We don't really learn much about the characters through dialogue, it's really like you're visiting people who know each other and don't need to talk about things cause they know already. For that this excels, for the true 'slice of life' of it all, but though I expected less dialogue than mainstream, I wanted as much as with Elephant or Gerry.
Rating: 6

Plot: You'd better like a slow movie. Perhaps this would have been better alone, since movies this quiet invite discourse and distraction. I would have liked a touch more drama, perhaps a scene closer to the moment of his death, him writing the suicide note, who knows. I wanted more.
Rating: 5

Mood: Some very poignant scenes in this one. The music is fantastic, the tone is cautious, the drug-induced haze is ever-present, and that conversation with the record exec made me realize how deep this character's self-loathing was. Gus worked hard to make this good, and though a little slow, it was neat.
Rating: 7

Music's his passion, and the only words you'll hear clearly spoken are the ones in the songs.

Overall Rating: 70% (High-Art That Will Have Seen Its Last Days In The Mainstream)

Aftertaste: This will certainly not be liked by the common people, and a lot of people, including myself will categorize this under 'Experimental'. I guess that means, "You really gotta be into it to like it and never recommend this to your friends cause they'll hate you, unless this is exactly their thing". Certainly not Gus' best work, but looking forward to his next one.