Plot: Kurt (Hayden Christensen) lives in a bleak, dystopian landscape, one made all the worse by his experiences as a combat veteran. His mind has broken down under the horrific things he went through as a soldier, so he isolates himself and struggles to make it through. The world is in chaos around him, as large scale weather disasters, political conflicts, and economic devastation have oppressed most of the population, but things might get even worse soon. A street prophet named Noe (Harvey Keitel) claims that an electrical storm of global proportions will soon be unleashed, an event that will finish off what little survivors remain. As time passes, Kurt begins to believe in Noe’s message, but is the true end of the world really just around the corner and if so, is it too late to survive the electrical fallout?
Entertainment Value: I have to be honest, I didn’t like much about The Last Man, but it does have a glorious fake beard and one of Harvey Keitel’s most disinterested turns, so there’s that. But aside from those instances of unintentional humor, there’s not much here beyond a generic sci/fi movie steeped in dystopian cliches, with a little climate change thumping blended in. The premise is passable and there is some potential in the narrative, but it feels squandered both by a poor script and a cast that doesn’t put much into their performances. I did appreciate how bleak the tone is, but the story is muddled and never gains much traction, especially since it tries to skip between genres with little to no success. There’s not enough depth to pull off a psychological thriller and the action is sparse as well, so we are left with a dimly lit, mostly dull post apocalyptic sci/fi flick with some mild b movie vibes. If the entire movie would have been as ridiculous as Keitel’s performance, The Last Man might have been a fun watch, but it is overly serious and at times, a chore to sit through. Unless a half asleep Keitel interests you, this one doesn’t much of a recommendation.
This material isn’t just dull to the audience, it also seems to lull most of the cast into a semi-sleep state. Hayden Christensen at least puts in a little effort and while his turn isn’t good, you can tell he did his best here. I think he does a passable job at times, but he is out of his element in the lead role and the movie suffers as a result. Perhaps in a smaller role and focused on his stronger scenes, Christensen would have fared better, but he just struggles carrying the movie on his shoulders. But that fake beard is a lot of fun, so it is a shame it isn’t around for the entire picture. The show stealer here is Harvey Keitel, who couldn’t be less enthused if he wanted to be. He delivers his lines with no energy or interest whatsoever, which to me was hilarious, but I can see how some would just see it as another of the film’s negatives. The way he sleepwalks through the movie’s emotional climax is the highlight, as he is so deadpan and detached, for what should have been a pivotal sequence. The cast also includes Liz Solari, Marco Leonardi, Fernan Miras, and Justin Kelly.
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