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Last Night (2010)
By Brad Brevet,
Massy Tadjedin’s (2005’s The Jacket
screenwriter) feature directorial debut Last Night is a stunning tale of
fidelity and marital trust.
seduces both her characters and the audience to the point she has you in the
palm of her hand. To assume you know how the relationships in this story will
play out means you are underestimating her script as she teases and keeps you on
edge up and beyond the film’s last breath.
Sam Worthington (Avatar) and Keira
Knightly as Michael and Joanna Reed, the film opens with the two
at a party thrown by one of Michael’s business associates. It is here Joanna
witnesses a conversation between Michael and his beautiful colleague Laura
played by Eva Mendes. Making assumptions based on body language and how
attractive Laura is, Joanna jumps to conclusions causing the two to get in an
argument later that night. Trouble is, the next day Michael is heading to
Philadelphia with Laura for a two-day business trip, and his attraction to her
now seems to be heightened. Perhaps it would have happened regardless, but the
discussion he had with his wife certainly didn’t help matters.
On the flip side of the coin, with Michael out of town,
Joanna heads to a local New York cafe where she runs into an
old flame, Alex, played by the handsome French thespian Guillaume Canet (Tell
No One). Only in town for another 24 hours, he invites her to
dinner and the story of both Joanna and Michael’s temptation plays out before
our eyes. A story where every touch and/or slip of the tongue plays a huge
factor in the narrative’s trajectory.
Canet and Mendes are all excellent in this
film. Some more than others. Knightley proves she isn’t simply
best fit for period pieces as she fits into her role here as Joanna better than
any other modern film she’s had in her career. She bounces from one emotional
high to the next with ease; at first overreacting to a knee-jerk opinion, to
asking for forgiveness for her actions and finally her questionable lust for a
former lover. Worthington’s work is slightly closer to par as his actions are a
bit less subtle, but then again when a man is attracted to a woman is he ever
all that subtle?
Canet and Mendes are superb as the film’s
two seducers. Both are appropriately self-serving and, as is probably the case
in real life, the man is far more blunt in his approach verbally while the woman
uses her feminine wilds in an effort to get what she wants. It’s all so well
done I almost wouldn’t recommend couples with fidelity and/or trust issues to
give it a watch because every aspect of infidelity is touched upon. Tadjedin
leaves no stone unturned.
Ask yourself, if your partner kissed another man/woman but that was as far as
it went how would you react? Have you ever been tempted to cheat? Have you been
accused of doing so when it wasn’t true? Have you been the accuser? That’s just
the tip of the iceberg.
Night deals with very real questions that I’m sure have, at one
point or another, concerned most every couple, married or otherwise. And while
some moments are a bit contrived to get the story to the point Tadjedin wants it
to reach, once the story gets there you are immediately thrust back into the
This is a fantastic film that will have audiences talking once they leave the
theater, not only for the nature of the film, but in the way in which it is
made. Tadjedin has crafted a beautiful film and damn near created a romantic
thriller out of a talky film about fidelity. No, I’m not talking about slit
throats and bloodshed, but that doesn’t mean the film’s subject matter hurts any
less. Brilliant if you ask me.
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