These Final Hours
If you’re feeling the utter drain of apocalypse fatigue – pop culture products about humanity saving itself on the eve of destruction – maybe suck it up one more time forThese Final Hours. First, this is the feature length debut of Australian writer/director Zak Hilditch, so the visual quality is stark and modest instead of your summer blockbuster buffet of CGI and lens flares. Second, it’s not a story of shoehorned drama and rousing speeches that feed the audience’s Promethean belief that mankind can pull itself out of any challenge. For These Final Hours, it is too late to cancel the apocalypse; instead we are running headfirst into that abyss.
James (Nathan Phillips) drives through the suburbs of Perth as the fabric of society is tearing apart, yet his only goal is to get to his friend’s epic party. He turns a blind eye to public suicides and coruscating violence, yet his last shred of morality saves the pre-teen Rose (Angourie Rice) from a savage crime. As he connects with people along the way from his soon-to-be past life, will James help to reunite Rose with her lost father, or ditch her at the first opportunity and return to his most noble of quests?
By devoting little time to the cause of the global disaster, These Final Hours avoids the preachiness often rammed into big budget affairs and focuses on the power of individual choice. With an inescapable heat that leaps through the screen, Hilditch’s world without consequences is a harrowing one. With commanding performances, confronting images and a score that switches from barren soundscapes to orchestral swells, don’t be surprised if you find yourself asking questions about how you will spend your own final hours.
These Final Hours screened as part of the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival. Click here for all of our reviews from MIFF 2013.