Truth and Movies

These Final Hours

Review by Luke Channell

Directed by

Zak Hilditch

Starring

David Field Jessica De Gouw Nathan Phillips

Anticipation.

Hasn’t the world ended enough already?

Enjoyment.

Absorbing in spite of its flaws.

In Retrospect.

Has more to say than your usual apocalyptic affair.

As armageddon looms, an Aussie father-to-be abandons his life in search of the bash to end them all.

What would you do with just 12 hours remaining until guaranteed global annihilation? Cherish your last moments in the company of your loved ones? Or literally party like there’s no tomorrow in a bid to numb the imminent pain? This is the quandary facing vest-wearing Aussie, James (Nathan Phillips), who chooses the latter, abandoning his pregnant lover to attend a killer party before a fire-storm caused by a cataclysmic meteor strike confirms earth’s expiry date.

Thematically there’s nothing new going on here. James’ journey to discover what’s really important in life is a trope as old as the apocalyptic hills. But, at just under an 90 minutes, These Final Hours maintains a swift momentum, no moment is wasted or unimportant, and a real immediacy is created with the characters’ time-restricted struggles. Within the space of 10 minutes, a machete wielding maniac chases James, diverting his party plans and causing him to rescue the kidnapped Rose (Angourie Rice), a young girl searching for her dad, splattering her oppressors with his nifty hammer skills.

While this relentless pacing keeps things enjoyable on a narrative level, it limits our emotional connection to James and Rose despite committed performances from Nathan and Angourie. They just aren’t given time to draw out individual traits which could have made these characters truly memorable. The throngs of party goers are rendered as nothing more than degenerate arseholes who delight in heinous debauchery. Perhaps this is the point, and some may may even enjoy their outrageous antics, but the film doesn’t fulfil its emotionally affecting potential.

Despite the impersonality of this depravity, there’s a handful of fleetingly moving scenes which triumph human connections over temporary party shenanigans. Thought-provoking asides explore the acceptance of our innate immortality and the beauty that can be salvaged from the worst of scenarios. Bonnie Elliott’s cinematography perfectly complements these more subtle instances, the orange-hued, muted aesthetic capturing grace amid the desolation and despair.

Published 5 May 2016

Anticipation.

Hasn’t the world ended enough already?

Enjoyment.

Absorbing in spite of its flaws.

In Retrospect.

Has more to say than your usual apocalyptic affair.

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