Tuesday, August 6, 2013

End of Days, Again

Last Day on Earth (2011) - Ferrara

Al Gore was right. There is a hole in ozon layer and the world will end for everyone on earth at 4:44 (Eastern time I guess?). A couple, Cisco (Willem Defoe) and Skye (Shanyn Leigh) start the last day just like any other. Skye says shaving Cisco, "Why bother?" and he replies, "For you. You like it smooth." Throughout the day, they make love several times, she concentrates into her painting on a large canvas on the floor while changing in and out of several outfits, showing off her nubile body, he glues himself in front of many modern gadgets (giant TV screen which blares images of the end of times, news, faces of sages, skyping with friends and family) in their cavernous Lower Eastside loft space. It is pretty clear Ferrara is not really interested in the mechanics of the world's end or how to portray it effectively. And unlike von Trier's visceral, anxiety ridden apocalypse in Melancholia, Ferrara's is met with a quiet, resigned attitude. I mean what can you really do in that situation? The strength of the film belies in its melancholic mood, as the couple wait for Chinese food delivery and lets a Hmong delivery kid to use their computer so he can skype with his family and say the last good bye or when Cisco sneaks out to visit old junkie friends for one last score and some good conversation.

As much as I hate seeing bad art in films, unfettered new age-y sentimentality, cheapo special effects and bad acting (Ferrara, I don't really care if Leigh is your girlfriend, but you don't put someone as uninteresting as her against Dafoe and hope for the best), I didn't completely hate 4:44. It's an honest depiction of how normal people would react in the face of apocalypse.