(Chile/France/US - 2012)
Written and directed by Abel Ferrara. Cast: Willem Dafoe, Shanyn Leigh, Paul Hipp, Natasha Lyonne, Anita Pallenberg, Paz de la Huerta. (Unrated, 82 mins).
Whether it's the doomy prophecies of the 2012 Mayan calendar or just societal unease and malaise in general, the apocalypse film has definitely made a comeback. Sure, we've seen a zombie horror resurgence in the last decade, but I'm talking "serious" examination of the end of the world. In the last year, we've had ANOTHER EARTH and TAKE SHELTER touching on these themes in their own unique ways. Lars von Trier's brilliant MELANCHOLIA dealt with the subject in a more direct fashion, and this summer, it gets a more comedic (?) take with the Steve Carell/Keira Knightley-starring SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD. But now, legendary NYC-based indie wildman Abel Ferrara brings us his own vision of the world's end and it mostly looks like an Abel Ferrara home movie. That is, when it doesn't look like an end-of-semester visual essay by the most annoying person in your Digital Multimedia class. Ferrara has long been one of the most visceral, exciting voices in independent cinema. Films like MS. 45, FEAR CITY, KING OF NEW YORK, BAD LIEUTENANT, and THE FUNERAL to name just a few, have forever cemented his significance to indie and cult cinema (and I even like DANGEROUS GAME!). He's mainly been doing documentaries in recent years, like the sincere but rambling CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS. His 2007 film GO-GO TALES got great word-of-mouth overseas but has yet to be really be seen in the US outside of festival showings. Is there some reason GO-GO TALES still hasn't been released on DVD here?
KING OF NEW YORK, it's not.
You know, with all the TVs, monitors, laptops, and tablets displaying various media in Cisco & Skye's loft (and honestly, didn't you groan a little when you read the names "Cisco" and "Skye"?), it's too bad none of these devices was Netflix streaming Don McKellar's 1998 Canadian film LAST NIGHT, which seems to be the main inspiration for this new trend of character-driven apocalypse cinema, but no one seems eager to admit it. LAST NIGHT is a great underseen film that was probably inspired more by the now-laughable, pants-shitting paranoia of pre-Y2K, but it still holds up today, with a final scene that gets me every time. With 4:44: LAST DAY ON EARTH, it's great to see that Ferrara can once again get a film distributed in the US, but I just wish he had something to say.
|Streaming on Netflix. Watch this film.|