These Final Hours - Review


How would you spend your final hours if you knew the world was facing certain annihilation? Perhaps entwined in a naked embrace with a lover, at the bottom of a bottle or snorting your way to blissful absentmindedness. I imagine we’d all like to think that we’d be with our loved ones, embracing our fates like adults. These Final Hours the latest film from Zak Hilditch superbly proposes what may become of our so-called ‘civilised’ society when the end is nigh … and it’s all a tad disturbing in the most gorgeously cinematic way possible.

As the film opens the world is being devoured by a catastrophic event, with Australia approximately 12 hours away from complete destruction. We meet James (Nathan Phillips) and Zoe (Jessica De Gouw) mid-coitus, which sadly for Zoe leads to James declaring that he’d prefer to spend his final hours “getting fucked up” than being cooped up with Zoe awaiting the inevitable. It’s our first inclining that James may be a tad on the immature side. Enroute to a monstrous house party, a twist of fate sees James rescue Rose (Angourice Rice) a young girl from the clutches of two rather unsavoury chaps who could safely be described as the world’s worst babysitters. James’s priorities slowly shift from partying his hours away to reuniting Rose with her father, but with the world coming to an end, things aren’t so straightforward …

With a deceptively simple bag of tricks, director Zak Hilditch does wonders converting the picturesque Perth into a terror-stricken-city eerily blanketed in stillness. Instead of showing droves of people in panic, Hilditch’s world is barren and bleak as people have either fled the city or succumbed to the temptation of suicide. Deserted streets filled with burnt out cars and empty houses with messages to family members scrawled over them highlight the despair which has gripped the throat of the city. Hilditch rather craftily utilises smaller scale set pieces such as empty car parks, highways with a lone vehicle careening down them and short bursts of extreme violence to convey the ominous tone of the film to great effect. All easily achieved and I imagine didn't put too much pressure on the budget, it's an example of what can be achieved when a story teller brings ingenuity to the table, which is awfully refreshing.

Instead of just being an end of the world drama, These Final Hours plays as an interesting metaphor about the male perspective on relationships and perhaps issues with commitment. The films’ opening scene has James and Zoe discussing the their final day on earth and that Zoe wanted James to remain with him, his reaction, which I can totally sympathise with but not necessarily condone, was to run away in order to party. Zoe's perspective is that the world is ending anyway so there's no reason not to spend the end together. I liked the fact the film took time to explore what was going through James's mind and analysing his reasons for living his last day the way he did.

Whilst the trailer didn't exactly appeal to me, I can safely say These Final Hours is worth catching. This has been a fairly strong year for Aussie films (52 Tuesdays, The Babadook) and I'd encourage everyone to get out to support local content. Really excited to see what Zak Hilditch does next.

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- Stu




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