Venice 2011 Review: 4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH

The concept is simple: at 4:44 am Eastern Time the world will come to an end. This time all the scientists agree, there is no escape. So what would you do with your last hours of your life? Who would you spend that time with?

rating: 2.5

Actor Willem Dafoe and writer/director Abel Ferrara have teamed together before for 2007's completely off the radar screwball comedy Go Go Tales (bet you've never heard of that one, have ya?) but their next collaboration has considerably more buzz, a sci-fi thriller awkwardly titled 4:44 Last Day on Earth about the last hours on Earth of mankind, which premiered today under the spotlight of the Venice Film Festival Crowd. The concept is simple: at 4:44 am Eastern Time the world will come to an end. This time all the scientists agree, there is no escape. So what would you do with your last hours of your life? Who would you spend that time with? Willem Dafoe plays Cisco, a man who is still trying to figure out what happened and why doomsday cannot be avoided. Basically the whole film is set in a New York apartment where Cisco lives with his girlfriend, played by Natasha Lyonne. If you go past the fact that there is too much love making, too many skype conversations and images taken from TV interviews, you may actually start enjoying the film, but only for a little while. Some scenes are disturbing and some are pointless. The whole idea is nice and clearly Ferrara wanted to make a movie about being conscious of the troubled times that mankind is going through right now, making us aware that if we don't want to start counting down the minutes to the end of the world then we should start making some changes. He was preparing a nice cake, but he left it in the oven for too long and now it's burned. 4: 44 Last Day on Earth doesn't really go deep into any philosophical discussion on life and death and there seems to be a lot of resignation from all human beings, just accepting their destiny. One of the best scenes is when Dafoe sneaks into an apartment and finds an old friend who was a drug addict and he poses the only good question of the film: Don't you think that it's pointless giving up all these years of being off the drugs just one minute before everything is over? All the film can do is make you think of what you would like to do in your last moments of life, who would you like to spend that time with. But I didn't really need an hour and a half to start wonder me that. Cinematographically speaking it's a nice film, but there is to much voyeurism, too many shots that are identical and some camera movements that do not make real sense. It's not a bad film overall, but maybe some different ingredients would have made it a better cake, but it is still edible. 4: 44 Last Day on Earth currently has a 2013 (!) release date, at least according to IMDB.
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