These Final Hours
These Final Hours , disaster drama, not rated, Jean Cocteau Cinema, 3 chiles
The news comes over the radio. A massive meteor has struck the North Atlantic, resulting in a fireball that’s slowly enveloping the Earth, destroying all in its path. Broadcasts update listeners on its progress: Parts of North America are wiped out, Europe is entirely gone. Survivors in Perth, where the film is set, have just 12 hours before it, and certain death, reaches them. Nathan Phillips, of break-out horror hit Wolf Creek (2005), stars as James, a coked-up alcoholic who wants only to numb himself to the growing plight around him. In his desperation, he abandons Zoe (Jessica De Gouw), the woman he’s been seeing behind his girlfriend’s back, but he’s haunted by his selfishness and his failure to offer her comfort. His plan is to get to his girlfriend’s brother’s end-of-the-world party and while away the hours in a state of inebriation. Along the way, he gets sidetracked by Rose (Angourie Rice), a young girl whose life he saves after she’s been abducted by two men. Lawlessness runs amok in the streets. Rose convinces James to help her find her father, who she last saw when he wandered from their vehicle in search of petrol.
These Final Hours does not revel in the wanton destruction of cities, and it’s no special-effects-laden extravaganza. It is, instead, a moving story that packs an emotional wallop. All the tension, accompanying nearly every scene, comes from not knowing what to expect from the characters; as people become unhinged, they react with fear and take up arms against one another. Heroics are in short supply. Entire families have made suicide pacts, unable to face the coming fate. The trash piles up, uncollected, at the edges of lawns. When James, with Rose in tow, makes a brief stop at the party, it’s an orgy of sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence. Men play Russian roulette with the expected consequences, and Rose is nearly kidnapped for the second time — this time by a delusional woman, hopped up on party drugs, who thinks Rose is her daughter. The “party” itself is a picture of helplessness, hopelessness, and fear.
Despair has thoroughly gripped society. Some go through the motions of their day, for want of any better plan, as others descend into chaos. In facing dreadful circumstances, humanity’s best and worst instincts come into play. Phillips is effective as a man suddenly charged with the protection of a young girl, made to care at a moment when no one else seems to. He shields Rose as best he can from the stark reality around her, but there comes a point when he can no longer sugarcoat their predicament. These
Final Hours is a reminder that, no matter how bleak the future looks, even small acts of kindness may be redemptive.
Doomsday duo: Nathan Phillips and Angourie Rice