LAST ORDERS Add To My Top 10

Humanist Nostalgia

Content -3
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: December 14, 2001

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony

Director: Fred Schepsi

Executive Producer:

Producer: Fred Schepsi & Elisabeth Robinson

Writer: Fred Schepsi

Address Comments To:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard & Marcie Bloom
Co-Presidents
Sony Pictures Classics
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 833-8833
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com

Content:

(HH, Pa, Ab, LLL, V, S, NN, AA, D, M) Humanist worldview seems to say that life has its ups & downs but then you die, some pagan lusts & conflicts & brief, slightly vague talk about God in a negative way; 20 obscenities including a few “f” words & 13 strong & mild profanities; some brief fighting; implied adultery, fornication & prostitution plus brief talk about sexual issues; upper female & rear male nudity; alcohol use & drunkenness; smoking; and, lying, adultery, gambling encouraged, & a mildly negative view of the lives of the mentally handicapped.


Summary:

LAST ORDERS stars some veteran English actors, including Michael Caine and Helen Mirren, in a story about the lives of four men and one of the men’s wife, son and daughter. Despite the fine acting, LAST ORDERS lacks a consistent, compelling dramatic focus and has a humanist worldview that seems to say, “Life has its ups and downs, even the relationships with your closest buddies, and then you die.”


Review:

In LAST ORDERS, four men, Ray, Vince, Lenny, and Vic, take a journey to the sea to dump the ashes of Vince’s father, Jack, into the ocean off the coast of England. As they make their way through beautiful landscapes and a series of pubs on a cold, rainy day, the men remember Jack, an ordinary guy and lifelong butcher, but charismatic man, who affected all of their lives in important ways. Meanwhile, Jack’s wife Amy takes a last journey to visit their daughter, a mentally handicapped woman who could never recognize her mother and whom Jack could never love. Secrets are revealed during these sad journeys, as the movie flashes back to the past. In fact, one of the recurring refrains in the movie’s dialogue is when people jokingly tell other people who have asked them a question, “That would be telling,” as if they have some big secret to keep.
LAST ORDERS focuses on the lives of the four older men, Jack, Ray, Lenny, and Vic. Vince, the son's, regrets about his strained relationship with his father, Jack, also take center stage frequently in this drawn-out drama. As such, LAST ORDERS might remind many old cinephiles of the “kitchen sink” dramas that led to a renaissance in British cinema during the late 1950s. In fact, Tom Courtenay, one of the stars who came to prominence in that movement, plays Vic, the wise, bemused funeral director and friend who tries to keep the men on track. LAST ORDERS also stars cinematic legend Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins of ROGER RABBIT fame, Helen Mirren of the PRIME SUSPECT television mystery series and countless movies since 1973, Ray Winstone of SEXY BEAST, and David Hemmings of the 1960s cult classic BLOW UP. Thus, older audiences might appreciate this movie more than other viewers.
Despite the fine acting, LAST ORDERS lacks a consistent, compelling dramatic focus beyond the story’s focus on the trip that the men are making to cast Jack’s ashes into the sea. Like their journey, the lives of these men, and Jack’s wife Amy, have their ups and downs. Not only can’t you count on your marriage and family to keep you happy, but you sometimes can’t even count on your friends. Then, there’s a wistful but tragic sigh as each character, and every viewer, becomes aware, more than once, about the reality of the dreaded fingers of death that cut down Jack, who was somehow always bigger than life.
There is no hope of Heaven or resurrection in LAST ORDERS. In fact, there is some brief negative talk about God and the oblivion that apparently has hit Jack. Thus, the movie only offers viewers an unsatisfying humanist nostalgia with pagan lusts and conflicts. There also seems to be a negative view about the allegedly empty lives of the mentally handicapped, which has an uncomfortable, but very vague, echo of the awful humanist movement called euthanasia or “mercy” killing. One of the few solid hopeful notes in LAST ORDERS is that, on his deathbed, Jack expresses concern for Amy’s future, so he has his buddy Ray put into play a plan that will take care of Jack’s debts and keep his wife happy after his death. The plan involves some gambling, however. So, even that part of the movie is tainted.


In Brief:

In LAST ORDERS, four men, Ray, Vince, Lenny, and Vic, take a journey to the sea to dump the ashes of Vince’s father, Jack, into the ocean off the coast of England. As they make their way through beautiful landscapes and a series of pubs on a cold, rainy day, the men remember Jack, an ordinary but charismatic man who affected all of their lives in important ways. Meanwhile, Jack’s wife Amy takes a last journey to visit their daughter, a mentally handicapped woman who could never recognize her mother and whom Jack could never love. The movie reveals several secrets during these sad journeys.
LAST ORDERS stars some veteran English actors like Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins, and David Hemmings. Despite the fine acting, LAST ORDERS lacks a consistent, compelling dramatic focus beyond the story’s focus on the trip to cast Jack’s ashes into the sea. The movie’s humanist worldview seems to say, “Life has its ups and downs, even the relationships with your closest buddies, and then you die.” There is no hope of Heaven or resurrection in LAST ORDERS. In fact, the movie depicts death as some sort of great unknown oblivion