These Final Hours
Director: Zak Hilditch
Writer: Zak Hilditch
Cast: Nathan Phillips, Jessica De Gouw, Angourie Rice, Kathryn Beck, Daniel Henshall
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]
Earth is dying and its final hours have arrived. Huge parts of it are already dead. In Australia, everybody is waiting and trying to fill those last hours. James (Nathan Phillips) is supposed to be at a party with his girlfriend Vicky (Kathryn Beck), so he leaves Zoe (Jessica De Gouw) with whom he’s been having an affair, despite the fact that she reveals that she is pregnant. But on the way to the party, James sees Rose (Angourie Rice), a twelve-year-old girl, being dragged into a house by two men and he can’t just leave her there. But after he saves her he doesn’t really know what do with her.
These Final Hours uses an old question – what would you do when the world was about to end? – and tells a compelling story with it. It might not be something we’ve never seen before, but it’s effectively told.
The film’s biggest strength – the part that made it very secondary that it wasn’t too original – was its pacing. The story whisks you along, keeps you engaged, knows when to stop for breathers and when to hurry the action along, when to bring the emotions and when we just needed something to happen.
Pacing is generally a part of films that often goes haywire, that few people notice outright but that will make a huge difference in how the film works. That is also proven here: it really elevates the film from being fine, but forgettable to good.
It’s still not great – James is a little too trope-y and clichéd to be a great leading man, the ending is a little too cheesy, the cast isn’t bad, but the acting wasn’t revelatory either. (though I have to say that I expect good things to come form Angourie Rice who was really strong considering her young age). The writing didn’t make me cringe, but a bit more characterization wouldn’t have been bad.
And even though most of the elements of the film are pretty average, the pacing combined with the haunting images of the apocalyptic, empty city and Rose’s clear communication of her wants and needs (which we rarely get to see in [pre-]adolescent girls) did make the film more than average and into something I really enjoyed to watch and was perfectly engrossed in.