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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Tribeca Films: "Last Night"

First-time director Massy Tadjedin breaks down the walls of a relationship between a young married couple (Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington), while in turn revealing both their weaknesses and desires in the taut romantic drama Last Night.

Joanna is a New York hipster, by way of Europe, who marries her college sweetheart, the well-suited corporate exec Michael, after a flighty, on-again/off-again affair with Alex (Guillaume Canet). They live in a swanky loft in New York City overlooking the fashion flood of the high-end meatpacking district. Their personalities appear to be very different and their love for one another seem to tip more toward respect than adoration. But when Joanna meets one of Michael's colleagues, the voluptuous Laura (Eva Mendes), she feels threatened and accuses Michael of having an affair with her. This confrontation leads to hurt feelings, misgivings, and insecurity between the couple. When Michael goes out of town on business, Joanna is left to feed upon her own angry words and wonder what they really mean, and why she said them. Meanwhile, Michael is doing the same thing. Most of the movie is then spent separating the couple in two different segments, and exposing who they are as individuals--their temptations and weaknesses--and how they act on both.

Slickly written and finely acted, Last Night is at its core a character study. Not only is Tadjedin, who also wrote the screenplay, analyzing these characters, but the characters are analyzing each other. We see Joanna get the third degree from one of one of Alex's friends, but Michael is grilled by Laura. Neither of those characters even know Joanna or Michael, but their sharp unwillingness to expose themselves has left them vulnerable to speculation and weak in their inhibitions. The wall of sexual tension throughout the movie could have only been sliced with a chainsaw. It rides that fine line of being sexy, without being overtly sexual.

Last Night isn't just a film about adultery; it's a provocative movie exploring the sexual prowess that builds at the mere thought of adultery.

Rating: A

In case you missed it, take a look at the trailer for Last Night here:


Lesya said...

Very surprised with the review and rating! I wanted to see this one anyway because Knightley used to be my favorite actress and I'm still interested in her career. Her movie choices are good. But I didn't expect this film to be that good as you describe it.

Brittani Burnham said...

Great review! I'm interested in seeing Keira act in something that isn't a period peice. It seems like that's all she's done lately.

Anonymous said...

The subtle psychology that exist in these characters may resonate with most of us who have been in the position of making the right choices. This movie is well done. It's left me with much thoughts to sift through.

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