Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Last Seven and Living in Limbo: A Movie Review

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*Here be spoilers.

Director: Imran Naqvi.

Writer: John Stanley.

The Last Seven
is a London shot film from a series of production companies including: Goliath Productions, Nightshade Productions, Press on Features, and Vesuvius Film Partners. The film was released in the United Kingdom August 27th, with a DVD/Blu-Ray release August 30th. Starring are the usual Brit' suspects: Tamer Hassan, Simon Phillips, Danny Dyer and others, with the film delving into the spiritual realm through graphic character flashbacks. The Last Seven is a slow paced thriller without an initial hook, which left this viewer slightly unsatisfied. On the plus side, there is beautiful cinematography and solid acting from the core group of actors and the film does take on some interesting existential themes. Plus Danny Dyer is in one of his first serious roles.

The film involves seven strangers waking up at the same time in a deserted London. Henry (John Mawson), Chloe (Daisy Head), Jack (Hassan), William (Phillips), Isaac (Ronan Vibert), Isabelle (Rita Ramnani), and Robert (Sebastian Street) are each connected through an act of violence, which is revealed late in the final scene of the film. The climax is built through the reveal of several interlaced frames of gory, unexplained images, while these seven characters walk about London wondering why they are here.

This reviewer found the final act slightly confusing, but when thought out the interconnection of the characters begins to make sense. As well the Angel of Death (Dyer) tries to clear the air, with some dialogue of good and evil being put in harmony. But the reason for at least two seemingly innocent deaths is not really explained (William and Isabelle). In case the ending is not clear, a hostage rescue has gone wrong leaving one young girl dead and a father, after strangely receiving the stigmata (crucifixion marks on the hands and feet), has taken upon himself an act of revenge. A minister who gave the order for the rescue is the target of his vengeance and only one of the "last seven" makes it out of the movie alive. What makes her more deserving of life over the others is not explained.

The cinematography of a deserted London is enjoyed, but the first hour of the film seems under utilized and somewhat drawn out. The film could easily have been condensed to fourty-five minutes, but instead The Last Seven seems to meander early. The press package that came with the screener admits that: "this is a very low budget British indie film," (Phillips) so the reasons that the film seems long or lacking useful action is partially understood. However, the Angel of Death should really have made an earlier appearance and done what he does best. Instead fans will be left will some slowly built characterizations and a lack of action, which might leave viewers wanting more. A very open and beautifully shot English landscape with excellent helicopter, interior, and exterior shots are some of the film's only, early highlights.

North American fans will have to wait for their own opportunity to judge this film from first time director Imran Naqvi, as there are currently no plans for distribution in this territory to this reviewer's knowledge. The film does not offer an initial hook early, but tackles some interesting, timeless themes of sprituality e.g. the Catholic phenomenon of limbo, stigmata. The Last Seven is above average, especially in performances; however, some of the thrill is missing from this thriller. Watch the trailer below at the movie's website and decide if this is a film that interests you.

Overall: 6.75 out of 10 (-1 for no initial hook, -1 for an unclear conclusion, -1 for too little action in the first half of the film, -.25 for under using Dyer).

The Last Seven's homepage:

The Last Seven Homepage

One of the film's fanpages:

The Last Seven on Facebook

A DVD of another thriller starring both Danny Dyer and Tamer Hassan:

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