Last Night

Director: Don McKellar

It’s 6.00p.m., and in six hours – give or take a couple of seconds – the world will come to an end. That’s the gist of Last Night. And while it might appear to be a grim subject for a movie, writer-director Don McKellar’s bitter-sweet picture is funny, heart-wrenching and life-affirming. McKellar casts himself as Patrick, an architect who plans to meet the end alone, quietly, following a family dinner. The other character strands in the interwoven scenario involve Sandra (Sandra Oh), a woman attempting to get across town for a suicide pact with her husband; Duncan (David Cronenberg), a diligent executive with a gas company; Craig (Callum Keith Rennie), who’s pursuing a laundry list of sexual conquests’; and Donna (Tracy Wright), Duncan’s assistant, who’s trying to screw up the courage and show her true colours before the final fade.
The central confrontation involves the quietly resolved Patrick getting drawn into Sandra’s hysterical predicament.
The underlying content is serious drama, but McKellar is a keen observer of human foibles and a social satirist who understands how to leaven the subject and provide the laugh before the powerful emotional moment. He has sly fun with everything from the family unit to cell ‘phones, ’60s folk music and pedesrian rage. The ensemble cast is first-rate, including McKellar, whose wired Everyman is reminiscent of the silent clowns. Sandra Oh may be Canada’s most extraordinary young actress, and Genevieve Bujold, as Patrick and Craig’s high school French teacher who has a last fling with the latter, is the picture of dignity in the face of impossible circumstances.

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