Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Pitt, Asia Argento, Ricky Jay, Lukas Haas, Scott Green, Nicole Vicius, Ryan Orian, Harmony Korine, Kim Gordon, Thadues A. Thomas, Adam Friberg, Andy Friberg
Written by: Gus Van Sant
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content
Running Time: 97
Date: 05/13/2005

Last Days (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Kurt Reply

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Gus Van Sant continues in his newfound filmmaking style, using lengthy, single takes to tell stories about death. Like Gerry and Elephant, Last Days moves with a kind of eerie, real-time effect in which a lonely life drags at its own interminable pace. The story imagines what it might have been like for rock star Kurt Cobain during the few days before he took his own life. Van Sant names his character "Blake," but in the role, actor Michael Pitt (The Dreamers) does his best to imitate the real Kurt, from his dress to his voice and his walk. As with Elephant, Van Sant crosses time streams here and there, adding to the film's sickly, druggy feeling. The only people around are a nameless entourage (including Lukas Haas and the wonderful Asia Argento) that mostly sleeps, listens to records or generally interrupts him. A detective (Ricky Jay) shows up, as do a record executive (Kim Gordon), a couple of Mormons and a Yellow Pages ad space salesman. In this world, Blake has no one he can actually relate to. It's an effective work, but die-hard Nirvana fans will find it little more than a curiosity. The film really comes in handy for casual fans that wonder why such a rich, successful and talented rock star should have taken his own life. Last Days shows that the reason was little more than aching loneliness, and few films have ever come closer to visually capturing that horrible feeling.

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