What would you do if you had only 12 hours to live? These Final Hours explores that question when an extinction size meteor hits the earth and a cataclysmic wave of fire is headed towards Australia. With death an inescapable, undeniable certainty, there is mass chaos, lawlessness, and a rapid decay of social order. Each has his own way of dealing with it, and self-absorbed party-boy James has decided that the best way to spend his last few hours on earth is at the party to end all parties. His plans for a trip across town don’t quite go as well as planned, and he ends up caring for a young girl, Rose, who is desperately trying to connect with her father. As James encounters obstacle after obstacle along his journey, he finally realizes from this girl that he wants the wrong thing.
Earning writer/director Zak Kilditch a Golden Camera nomination at the Cannes Film Festival, These Final Hours is a taught and tense thriller that takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Kilditch has created a bleak vision of what the world might look like in the face of pending destruction, and since These Final Hours is a low-budget, independent film, he didn’t rely on special effects. Rather, it’s a great script and a very talented cast that give the story credibility. Though the story does bear some similarities to other apocalyptic films, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road came to mind for me, Kilditch shows us a different take on it in that the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet, it’s only on the way. This creates an interesting irony in that despite all the human despair and chaos, the physical world is essentially oblivious and carries on as normal under beautiful, sunny Perth skies.
Nathan Phillips is perfectly cast in the lead role as James, and he looks and plays the part very well. I was impressed with Angourie Rice who played the young Rose, a substantial role, and pulling it off was key to making the film work. Kathryn Beck gives a fantastic performance as Vicky, an ex-girlfriend of James, in a very manic role that culminates in her character having a complete emotional breakdown and admitting she is afraid to die. Hers is one of several gut-wrenching, emotional scenes in the film.
One thing I really liked about These Final Hours is that it respects its own limits. It doesn’t try to go for too much and is essentially one human story, the story of one person’s journey through the last few hours of life and the choices he makes. The result is an emotional and thought-provoking piece. Full of twists and turns up until the climactic end, it is an outstanding achievement by a promising Australian filmmaker.
[youtube id=”QaoF6byFQFU” width=”620″ height=”360″]
::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.