Last Night

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Last Night

In Don McKellar's Last Night, the world will end at midnight. The radio counts down the 500 best songs of all time, a dedicated gas-utility employee (David Cronenberg) is making calls to thank his company's many customers, a family partakes in a final Christmas dinner (never mind the calendar), and a lonely widower (played by McKellar) just wants to be left alone. Best known for appearing in Exotica and co-writing The Red Violin and 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, McKellar puts the emphasis on reflection rather than destruction. Throngs run wild in the street as the unexplained cataclysm draws nearer, but the writer-director has a greater interest in those left thinking about what it all means. It's a marvelous setup for a movie that doesn't quite capitalize on it. Despite wonderful touches throughout (Cronenberg uses a ruler to neatly cross out each entry on his list) and a solid cast that includes Geneviève Bujold, Sandra Oh (Arli$$), and Sarah Polley, Last Night consistently feels overcrowded and underdeveloped. Plenty of characters are around to ponder the end, but none seem to think about it all that deeply. That said, it's difficult not to be swept up by McKellar's dry, wonderfully realized fatalistic vision, as well as the efficiency with which he moves his film toward its inevitable conclusion, a final scene that's beautifully, cornily hopeful, hopeless, and true.