Last Night is perhaps the quietest of all films about the end of the world, offering a naturalistic study of behaviour and relationships in place of bombastic special effects.
We don’t know why the end is imminent (in just six hours) but there is no public transportation, no public services and rowdiness erupts as looters take over the streets of Toronto and help themselves to abandoned vehicles, shops and restaurants.
Amongst this chaos, Patrick (Don McKellar), Sandra (Sandra Oh), Craig (Callum Keith Rennie), Jennifer (Sarah Polley) and Duncan (David Cronenberg) all have their own plans as to how they want to spend their remaining hours.
Some choose family, others choose isolation. Some despair while others find solace in sex, music or memories.
The exceptional performances – including Cronenberg in a rare appearance in front of the camera as the owner of a power company ringing all his clients to thank them for their custom – give us a real sense of empathy for these wonderfully normal people whose resilience in the teeth of hopelessness is inspiring and moving.
The final scene, where love unexpectedly overcomes despair and crowds celebrate their ultimate destruction, is bizarrely uplifting.
Callum Keith Rennie