“Last Night” written and directed by Massy Tadjedin who was previously know for her movie “The Jacket” (2005). The movie stars: Keira Knightley (Joanne Reed), Sam Worthington (Michael Reed), Eva Mendes (Laura) and Guillaum Canet (Alex Mann).
The movie tells the story of a young married couple Joanne and Michael who live in New York and are apart from each other for one night.
Michael takes a business trip with his best friend and their beautiful colleague Laura. The night before the trip, the married couple attends a dinner party, where Joanne meets Michael’s attractive colleague of whom Michael never spoke much of, for the first time. This makes Joanne suspicious and causes a fight between them later that night, ending with Michael confirming that he thinks Laura is attractive.
While Michael is away Joanne encounters her past love Alex, who is in New York for business. Their attraction for one another is still more than obvious. While they decide to meet up, Michael meanwhile tries not to give in to the temptation of having an affair with Laura, who is likewise attracted to him. The night progresses and both Joanne and Michael try to deal with the challenge that is facing them in a different way. From here on, the movie cuts back and forth between Michael and Laura, and Joanne and Alex, managing to keep the audience’s attention alive with the question that stretches throughout the movie: Will they or won’t they.
“Last Night” has no further attraction than its story. The story and excellent acting of all four main actors, with a strong focus on Keira Knightley, carries the movie and builds up such a tension, that no one would think it possible to endure so much psychological pressure for 90 minutes. Everything is kept to a minimum in the movie, camera movement, dialogue and music, which from time to time can be heard in the background to improve tension. The night setting only strengthens the tension, just like the music.
The movie lives by gestures, touches and the chemistry between the characters. Joanne’s sparkling bright eyes the moment she meets Alex in front of the bakery, tells us more than words ever could. The never fading smile of Alex and his looks at Joanne are also enough to make us guess how he feels about her.
For Laura and Michael no less can be said. Michael’s constant stare at Laura’s behind and Laura’s constant glance at Michael, like there is no other man on the table, states their attraction for one another, without necessarily having to say it out loud.
The irony of the story lies in its outcome. The viewer can guess what will happen or assume one outcome or the other, since no other option is probable. Even though these information’s are at hand the tension exists continuously and magically draws the viewer’s attention to the screen.
The psychological force of right and wrong is present throughout the movie. The current tension in the movie of who will they chose and what will happen, takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster ride. This movie will either be loved or hated. Some will watch and hope for it to never end, others will not bare the pressure and will want to leave.
Right and wrong, happiness and unhappiness, seduction, true love, lust and the likes are topics that carry the movie. One will find oneself watching the movie and hoping for Joanne and Alex to get together, and Michael and Laura having an affair with each other, not realizing that it is morally wrong, since its Joanne and Michael that are married to each other, but just throughout the movie the viewer will be content with this wish and constantly hope that their desired outcome will come true.
The hope that both couples will end up happy will unceasingly be in effect, but no matter what the outcome of the movie will be the viewer will know that someone will get hurt. A strive for a reasonable solution will not be reached and still the knowledge of this essential information will not cease the interest in the movie.
What really makes “Last Night” work is its realness and naturalness. The characters could have been anyone we know, or even us. Some of us might be married, but still be attracted to someone else. Would that justify unfaithfulness, if everything were to end up better afterwards? Others might have a love that got away or did not work out, would it be right for them to go back to the “One” or settle with another person whom they love in a different way? Would you forgive a kiss or an affair?
“Last Night” deals with questions that everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives and therefore it is a very truthful movie. This movie proves how complex the human being can be and how complex love is. In a way it answers the problems in a modern way and deals with the issue as fair as possible. Some of us out there would chose to spend the rest of their lives with the love of their lives, while other would prefer to have lived through a great romance, but settle with a guy that is like their best friend. Then there are the once that would give in to temptation and some how would not. These contradicting would and would not problems and tensions are answered by the movie as neutral as possible.
“Last Night” an impressive feature that starts with taking our breath away and ends taking our breath away, manages to leave the viewer under its spell even hours later, making us curious about “What If”.