Th­ese Fi­nal Hours

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - — Michael Abatemarco

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

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