Review By James Lindorf
Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith) plays Kurt, a vet suffering from PTSD who comes home to an unholy, unruly land in Writer Director Rodrigo H. Vila’s The Last Man. Society has begun to collapse, but things are going to get much worse according to Harvey Keitel’s (Reservoir Dogs) street prophet, Noe. A catastrophic storm is coming, and it will end most of the life on earth, leaving behind only the believers who had the means to survive. As Kurt heeds Noe’s advice and readies for the apocalypse, he meets the alluring Jessica, his new boss’ daughter, who also begins to believe. Even as the planet falls apart, Kurt finds his life finally coming together.
The biggest fault with The Last Man is that its script suffers from an overload of ideas. It is a hodgepodge of an emotional drama about the horrors of war, a sci-fi thriller, and a heist film. Vila had two writing partners, and it appears they each had their own idea for what the film should be, and instead of choosing the best plan, they decided to make all three at once.
Like the three ideas in the film, there are three facets to Christensen’s performance. There is his emotional performance as a tortured vet, love interest to Jessica, and finally, his physical performance that includes fight choreography and physical reactions to his mental breakdowns.
His physical work is easily his strongest aspect as an actor. His training for Star Wars would have made this fight work seem like child’s play, and he does a good job physically conveying pain and anguish. His emotional moments that require dialogue are not great nor are they awful. They are fine for a low budget film. His chemistry with Liz Solari was the best in the movie, making interactions between Kurt and Jessica the strongest in the movie. Any good will that Christensen earns during his scenes with Solari is counteracted by his emotionless voice over work that runs throughout the film.
Maybe they lacked the funding to shoot everything they wanted and that’s why they resorted to using a great deal of voiceover to complete their story. Christensen’s acting in the voice over, however, was awful. It was completely deadpan. It sounded like someone who was bored and reading a script in a closet, not a character in the moment.
For most of the film, Harvey Keitel is his usual charismatic self. He seems to struggle with some of the dialogue, but it passes quickly. His charisma, Christensen’s physical acting and chemistry with Liz Solari are the bright points of this film, but they are not enough to pull it out of the darkness and into the light of a successful movie. The Last Man will find a few fans but will be forgotten or looked over by most.