These Final Hours

These Final Hours

Sadly, I missed the Toronto International Film Festival this past September because I wasn't capable of standing in line for more than ten minutes (the damn plantar fasciitis and patellofemoral syndrome--—yep, still!). Plus, If you have trouble with your knees you'll know how uncomfortable it can be to sit with them bent for any length of time. But I've still been going to the movies; I just fidget like CRAZY throughout, straightening my legs every fifteen minutes or so. Let me apologize here for anyone I might've driven bonkers (I swear I typically try to pick an otherwise empty row) with my cinema-restlessness!

But what I really want to say is that Australian end of the world flick These Final Hours is exactly the kind of gem I go to the festival to discover, a film you otherwise might miss because it doesn't have a big budget, a wide-release or tons of promotional $ behind it.

Nathan Phillips (James) and Angourie Rice (Rose)  in These Final Hours

What it does have going for it are wonderfully convincing performances from Nathan Phillips (James) and Angourie Rice (Rose) as its central characters and a compelling plotline which begins with the destruction of Western Europe and North America—after the Atlantic is hit by a meteor—and is destined to end with the frying of Australia in twelve hours' time.

Our setting is Perth, Western Australia looking every inch the last outpost of a fast-vanishing civilization. As the film kicks into gear, society rapidly unspooling, James's only plan for the end of the world is to face the moment out of his head so he won't feel the pain of annihilation. But en route to his own personal oblivion, James stumbles upon a situation he can't ignore, rescuing Rose from reprobate abductors.

With the clock ticking down a lifetime shrinks down to hours. As James deals with the hardest questions, we are forced to ponder them ourselves. How do we say goodbye? At the very end, who and what still matters?

If you admired Miracle Mile and Melancholia and are intrigued by the idea of a film that plays like the flipside of On the Beach, These Final Hours is for you, an entirely realistic but not heartless rendering of the end of life on our planet seen through the eyes of one man.

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