Thursday, April 21, 2011
Last Breath (2010)
Last Breath has an interesting concept inside of it's blackened little heart. One that I won't delve into too much because to do so would spoil the 'surprise' for those who may want to check it out. Overall, the film suffers from some very hard to ignore issues which unfortunately, detract from the effort made. These issues plague the film so much that it turns out to be less than the engaging experience that it should be.
Our film starts off by painting a picture of a family in turmoil. Mom snaps at her grade school son one morning after a cake she's made topples over in the kitchen because of him. Dad is met coldly by the wife as he sets off for work. While there, he meets the advances of an attractive coworker and she further paints the picture of a marriage that is steeped in issues and doubt. But the husband rebuffs her advances even though it's clear he's one step away from acting on impulse.
Later that day, the husband takes his wife out to the site of a new office space which he plans to use in the building of his own business. As he walks his wife through the space, giving her a grand tour, the sounds of his conversation with his hotly charged coworker can be heard pumping through the ventilation. As the wife flips out and tries to leave the building, a trench coated man makes himself known.
He incapacitates and rounds up our strained couple and for the remainder of our story, he puts them in various Saw-esque contraptions and tortures them. All the while, being very vague in his reasoning for why he's doing what he's doing. Our couple is brutally beaten, tortured and come within a few strikes of death. The husband eventually finds a way to briefly subdue his captor, frees his wife, and heads for the exit door. But the stranger comes to and chases them down, tackling the wife which brings the husband to contemplate whether or not he should leave his wife behind. He elects to stay which signals a feeling that maybe he wants to do so in more ways than one. He deals a death blow to the brutal captor and with his dying 'last breath', he reveals who he is and why he's brought them to this moment of self-realization.
The climax and ending should have had more punch than it did but it suffers from an overabundance of exposition which is displayed in a series of flashbacks. It's really overblown to the point where you get irritated by the fact that the filmmaker felt the need to really make sure the viewer connected the dots. Some people may appreciate something like this while watching a film. But for me, I prefer a lot more subtlety instead of a feeling of beating a dead horse. Halfway through this elongated series, I yelled 'GET ON WITH IT.' It really ruined the experience for me when a lot more could have been left to the imagination.
The soundtrack was also a particularly unnerving experience. During certain times, it felt like a Lifetime Movie of The Week. It really brought you out of the experience and added a level of silliness that just should not have been there. Have you ever been taken out of a film experience because of the soundtrack? Well that happened for me on more than one occasion with the film. Especially, the cringe inducing ending.
All in all, I can appreciate the attempt at something different and not something that's just torture porn for torture porn's sake (read: meaningless shock value). But in the end, the faults far outweigh any enjoyment that could be taken from the experience and the film's final moments just don't have the impact that it should.
Cortez the Killer