Last Days

The release of Last Days marks Gus Van Sant's third experimental movie in a row. All of them are about people who are lost, both metaphorically (Elephant) and physically (Gerry). Because they tend to be a little 'out there,' they can be hard for people to watch. To his credit, Van Sant is trying to do something different, but the results do not always work. Kurt Cobain's suicide inspired Last Days, but it's important to note that Van Sant took some liberties with the story. Blake (Matthew Pitt, The Village, Wonderland) is the lead singer of a band from Seattle. They are extremely famous. He looks like Cobain, and has a wife and daughter.

Blake wanders around a large house in a stupor, probably from a mixture of drugs and alcohol. This is most of the movie. Last Days is sometimes frustrating obtuse and slow, because of long stretches where nothing happens. Pitt stumbles through a house, or takes an exceedingly long time just to sit down. At other times, he collapses on the floor and just sits there. Van Sant mixes up the chronology, playing things out of order. At one point, Blake is asleep against a door, and a friend (Asia Argento, Land of the Dead, xXx) opens the door and hits him. Half an hour later, the same scene happens again, this time from Argento's perspective. Van Sant wanted to keep people off-kilter to experience what Blake is experiencing. In a sense, the audience is feeling what Blake is feeling.

Van Sant doesn't try to explain anything. Blake's band mates need money and want to tour. Blake is ignoring everybody. Others want to take him to rehab. What is missing is how he became the way he did, or why. Instead, there are long silent walks through the forest, and lots of slow-walking around a house. Pitt does do a good Cobain imitation, and Last Days really has some energy at one point when he begins singing. But this is only a few minutes. Otherwise, there are extended scenes of Pitt in a dress, or pretending to stalk his friends. Pitt mumbles incoherent for most of his lines. In general, Last Days is slim on dialogue, and sparse in background music. Again, this places more focus on what is happening on the screen, which isn't much, so the film begins to feel like a chore to sit through. It was an interesting experiment, but ultimately didn't work.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated R for language and some sexual content.

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