Tuesday, February 7, 2012

46. LAST NIGHT (2010)

An attractively-shot British film by Iranian writer-producer-director Massy Tadjedin, LAST NIGHT attends a young marriage experiencing a crisis of trust and temptation. Michael Reed (Sam Worthington) is a businessman required to travel, and his wife of three years, Joanna (Keira Knightley), who is a stay-at-home writer, lashes out with insecurity after observing his intimate body language with an attractive co-worker (Laura, played by Eva Mendes) at a party, with whom it transpires he's taken unmentioned road trips. When Michael is called out of town on a business trip to Philadelphia with Laura, Joanna bumps into her past love Alex (Guillaume Canet) and they spend the evening together, deciding what they want to do together and what they're going to do together. Meanwhile, on the road, Laura confronts Michael about their mutual attraction and invites him to do something about it.

Aside from the amusing contrast between Knightley's anorexic figure and her unbelievable spacious kitchen, and the welcome presence of that great character actor Griffin Dunne as a sly, gregarious friend of Alex, I found this a sad but fairly realistic movie with some very well-observed lines of dialogue. The Reeds' marriage is loving but not particularly happy; they're only three years into it and there are no physical indications of playful affection between them; they are alone too much and yet already feeling confined, already torturing one another for the confinement they feel. Michael's one-night-stand with Laura is meaningless; he cares nothing for this woman and he will suffer as if it meant something; he will certainly pay as if it meant something. For her part, Joanna says "no" to her old lover, yet they touch, they hug, they kiss, they even sleep curled up in one another's arms; they do everything together but have sex, but she will suffer for her evening likewise, nevertheless. And the ending, which cuts to the end credits scroll just as Joanna prepares to confess her evening - what will she say to her husband? What can she say? What will her words provoke from him? So much insecurity, so much sadness, and all because we marry and continue to feel.

Viewed on Netflix.

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