Saturday, June 24, 2017
THE LAST MINUTE (2001)
Written & Directed: Stephen Norrington
Cinematography By: James Welland
Editor: Stephen Norrington & Elliot Graham
Cast: Max Beesly, Emily Corrie, Jason Issacs, Frank Harper, Anthony Higgins, Udo Kier, Tom Bell, Kate Ashfield, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Graham, Sienna Guillory
The clock is ticking towards The Last Minute, but no one knows it. No one except Billy Byrne - young, cool and talented, he's the Next Big Thing. At least that's what the London glitterazzi are saying, on the streets, in the clubs, in the Business. But the glitterazzi turn out to be wrong and Billy Byrne is all over in a split second. His world detonates. His self-esteem splinters. Suddenly he's on a rollercoaster ride into the London underworld - a dangerous land of murderers, thieves and talent agents.
This is obviously more a personal film for director Stephen Norrington. Having a chance to tell his sis did the story by creating a cinematic allegory for his set of circumstances. Where he rose to great popularity and fame by directing the box office hot BLADE, but fell very fast and far by directing THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Which bombed huge. So in this tale we watch as an artist invents something g that becomes the hottest thing around and then we watch how he deals with his fall and recovery from it.
It showcases the different levels of fame by having Stephen Dorff come in to driver one line that shows this. Who the hell is Billy Byrne which also works as a sufficient signal of the introduction of a new act.
This film is an oddity, as it works as a statement that seems like a goodbye. But it also packs plenty of surreal moments and visuals that keep the film afloat and entertaining with some inspired scenes.
Though quite frankly as we watch his odyssey this is a film of moments. Rather than story, that is what you will Constantly remember. For instance his experiences while drunk with an opinionated and seemingly violent cabdriver. Where everything outside of the cab passes by in a speed up blur that makes it seem like the cab is going through hyperspace.
Throughout the film the main character is stalked by a menacing character played by Jason Issacs clearly LOVING his role. Which in one scene he gets to sing when a man loves a woman with his henchmen singing back-up. (One of the best and most memorable scene of the film) Who seems to be some kind of authority figure who feels he owes him or needs to wipe billy out so no one will remember him.
Max Beesly plays the main role and at the time he seemed to be having the same kind of ailment the main character does. As he was a hot commodity and seemed to be on his way to stardom with roles in films that were supposed to be guaranteed hits like Mariah Carey's starring opus GLITTER
There is also the quick comparison of Billy and a new supermodel who ends up getting used up and left for dead when she is of no more use to anyone. Even though she is young and vibrant. Yes at times the film will literally hit you over the head with it's metaphors.
Somehow along this odyssey Billy gets involved with some drug addicted homeless revolutionary art youth and falls In love. So the film does involve a love story with a girl. Who doesn't necessarily betray him but seems more loyal to her addictions rather than to him, bit to be fair she has had and known those addictions longer. Even if Billy is more of a positive influence.
Though the film never quite explains why this leaves him heavily pierced with dyed hair. It does have him pay his dues and make ends meet and peace with those who feel like he owes them or at least provide enough that they will let him live in peace.
Yes, the end of this is spoilers only because the end doesn't matter is the journey and watching this you can never predict where it is going. It tries to be more avant garde. Though it is one of a kind it also comes across almost as cyberpunk more than anything. It's not exactly random but it is also only somewhat coherent.
It's a film one can respect more than one can say one actually likes. As again it has it's own rhythm and originality that you can tap into if you are willing to look.
It's also an impressive looking personal project that seems filmed more like a glossy futuristic action thriller. Though it doesn’t sound like it the film is quite humorous.
What is interesting is that most of the cast were up and comers who had a certain heat behind them and while some appear here and there. Their careers didn’t seem to reach the heights they aspired or looked headed to, Sort of like the premonition of this film like for Norrrington came true for them
This is a funky little film. That will surprise you. It’s not quite a gem but definitely a jewel