An Eye Popping, Brilliant, Emotion Charged Roller Coaster
G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 12/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Last Minute is one of those truly rare motion pictures that deserves far wider recognition than it will ever get. How unfortunate. I'd never heard of the thing until recently stumbling across quite by accident. A virtual eye popping, roller coaster of a flick, it starts with a BANG and never lets its hooks out of you. Visually, The Last Minute is as impressive looking a picture as I've ever seen.
The DVD extras are (mostly) exceptional adding to the whole experience as few extras features ever do. As darkly hilarious as it is, this "Minute" also packs quite an emotional punch. Kudo's to Mr. Norrington who deserves greater recognition for this amazing film.
One caveat: Norrington wisely employs a terrific device by which we never know what our protagonist does to earn then lose his fame (director and star are on record as being at odds as to what Billy actually does). Were only that same thing had been employed for one scene: When Billy is told he doesn't want to know what's behind a certain door, we shouldn't find that out either. Personally, I laughed (in horror, but laughed) at this scene but I know others who were put off by the movie altogether because of these few seconds.
Every other aspect of the truly most bizarre nightclub "Prosthetic" is genius (as, actually is the moment in question, just too off-putting for most people). It is here where one of the film's most brilliant moments occurs: Percy "Sledge" breaking into the Sinatra classic "I've got you under my skin" while wreaking a gleeful malevolent stream of violence that is about as close to movie magic as we've ever seen.
Norrington has a cast that, quite simply, could not have been improved upon with Max Beesley giving a stand out performance as Billy - to watch the youthful energy of his clubby dance moves and the enthusiasm with which he embraces his burgeoning fame slip into confused despair, hopelessness and attempt at self redemption. Beesley has us routing for him even at his worst, for I think most of us can identify with Max's plight.
As the aforementioned Percy "Sledge" - Jason Isaacs is nothing short of terrifying, executing his violence with a Fred Astaire like grace and precision which is utterly disarming.
The Oliver Twist twist of the underground urchins with their modern day, more violent, Fagin (who doles out drug treats to the kiddies) is chillingly beautiful.
I also found the extended mad scene similar resonating strongly with Shakespeare's Lear - Max's meltdown/unhinging being so closely tied with what is happening in nature. Brilliant.
If "Minute" had been released theatrically stateside, I can't imagine it wouldn't do huge box office. There are audiences literally screaming for this type of originality. Hopefully, it's not too late to try. The seconds are ticking . . .
Seriously. See this movie. Or else!
Dark, surrealistic riff on life and art
Robyn Russell | Fairbanks, Alaska | 01/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Billy Byrne is a talented young artist on the verge of hitting the Big Time. Unfortunately, Billy makes the mistake of believing his own hype and when his debut creation tanks, he loses faith in himself as an artist. Desperately trying to recapture the magic touch, he begins a downward spiral into drug addiction and crime. Can Billy save himself or is he destined to be one of the broken people who inhabit this picture?
I'm not a fan of avant-garde anything, but I quite enjoyed the dark vision of this camera verity/music video-style movie. The cast is excellent with standout performances from Max Beesley as Billy, Jason Isaacs as Dave "Percy" Sledge, the singer/drug dealer, and Tom Bell as Grimshanks, the Fagin-like drug dealer/failed actor. The ickiest moments for me in this film were when Max is invited to Club Prosthesis, a kinky underground fetish club. The whole "medical procedure" theme made my skin crawl. The discovery of what was behind the closed door in the club was (frankly) funny and oddly charming by comparison. By far the best moments of the movie were the "musical interludes" by Percy Sledge, a psychotic killer, who alternates between homicidal rages and crooning like Frank Sinatra. It sounds bizarre, but the two "music video" moments actually blend in seamlessly to the whole movie.
The only drawback to this movie was a technical problem with the DVD itself. On the copy I had, the cursor tended to blend in so well with the background of several pages including the opening page that I had to guess as to its location. As a result, I doubt that I found all of the extra features on this DVD. As a side note, be sure to watch the movie all the way through the end credits as there are extra character scenes stuck in this last sequence.
While the overall tone of the movie is dark and gritty, the ending is uplifting and hopeful. "The Last Minute" is really a meditation on art, commercialism, and what it means to be an artist. I highly recommend this flick."