Published on December 28th, 2006 | by The Beige Baron


Last Days

This movie was really boring.

I understand that Gus van Sant is an artiste and has been hailed as a genius by many a skybrow critic and film buff. I can see he has a unique talent, I can appreciate how so many people love his films. I’ve tried, lord I’ve tried. Tried till my eyes glaze over.

Couldn’t make it, though.

Both Elephant and Last Days — inspired by Kurt Cobain’s days before his suicide — are achingly dull. The camera follows Blake (Michael Pitt, the Kurt figure) as he mumbles his way through the forest and the entire film in a haze of heroin and withdrawal from heroin. He is like a spectre in this film.

He has about three lines of coherent dialogue, to add to the film’s grand total of a few pages of scripting. This shouldn’t be a problem, except that the characters change so very little throughout the story. I know it’s supposed to be a kind of snapshot of a place in time, and is not supposed to tell a story in the traditional sense. But Jesus, this film was slow.

One scene: Blake runs through the frame into the bushes. Camera holds on bushes. For four minutes.

This sort of disconnected, atmospheric film-making style can be very powerful. In Last Days, I think it was overkill. The same effect could have been delivered in 30 minutes, instead it took something like 95.

The messages of the movie… however one chooses to interpret and articulate them… were suffocated under the sheer weight of boredom. It was a relief when it finally ended and I could watch the TV. Maybe this is a worse reflection of myself than of the movie, I’m not sure.

The things l liked about the movie: it didn’t show the cliched needle in vein, it didn’t show the actual suicide. It was in a beautiful location. It was powerful in moments and the music was very good.

It sounds petulant to ridicule an artistic and generally well-acted movie because it’s a little slow, however, if you haven’t already seen this movie and aren’t a huge van Sant fan, don’t bother. Rent a Nirvana DVD instead.

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Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

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