Tuesday, 21 February 2017

REVIEW - THE LAST OF US (ALA EDDINE SLIM)


A film without conversation, intent on provoking contemplation. Alas, The Last of Us' intentions are too clear, and the end effects of that contemplation too unclear, and what is otherwise a finely crafted work of art crumbles under this precarious balance. You know you're in fairly dire straits when you resort to introducing a hairy, grunting wild man, wandered off from the set of The Clan of the Cave Bear 30 years ago and in serious need of a wash, wrapping leaves around your mute protagonist's leg wound in order to liven up your film, and direr straits still when said character only makes your film more pitiful. I have no doubt that Ala Eddine Slim has something to say about consumerism and its impact on post-colonialist, impoverished parts of the world, but since nobody in his film actually says anything at all, it's pretty tough to work out what that something is. In that The Last of Us' flaws are conceptual, thus, it'd be more accurate to brand it an innately flawed work of art redeemed by smart execution. Amine Messadi's cinematography luxuriates in dusty brown tones and picturesque exteriors, creating several compositions far more memorable than the overall film itself. In the film's least ambiguous, allegorical stretch, there's an all-too-brief ride in the back of a small truck, its ineffective canvas curtain flapping in the wind to provide fleeting glimpses of a landscape left behind - it's an enormously evocative moment, and one whose extension might well have been more engaging than what Slim devises in its aftermath. One admires him for his willingness to go against the grain, but there are certain grains that exists for good reasons, and there's very little good in going against them.