Film Review – These Final Hours (2013)

TFH - post

Title – These Final Hours (2013)

Director – Zak Hilditch (The Toll)

Cast – Nathan Phillips, Angourie Rice, Sarah Snook, Jessica De Gouw, Daniel Henshall, David Field

Plot – In Perth, Australia, self-centred James (Phillips) finds himself heading to the party to end all parties as the imminent end of the world approaches. James’s plans are interrupted however when he stumbles upon young girl Rose (Rice) who has been separated from her family and subsequently James finds his priorities beginning to shift.

“I don’t want to feel it; I don’t want to feel a thing”

Review by Eddie on 15/12/2014

How would you spend your final hours? It’s an explosive question, a hard question and up and coming Australian director Zac Hilditch does a fine job of showing us just how some people would spend there last hours on earth as our planets impending demise approaches. This question asked of These Final Hours is by no means a question we’ve never been asked before by cinema, but this is a film that provides answers and scenarios we don’t always expect and is a brave movie in countless ways, especially in an Australian movie scene that doesn’t always strike as original, it’s also a movie that frustratingly flirts the line between average and greatness that eventually holds it back from becoming what was so close to its grasp.

With a stunning visual aesthetic, some truly eye catching moments and an often affecting tone, These Final Hours does so much right it’s hard to capture all of its accomplishments in one short review, yet it’s also impossible to ignore its often glaring downsides that consistently undo the incredible work laid before it. Opening in a quite confronting fashion and never letting up, you get the feeling that Hilditch at times struggled to fill in holes when the movie moves from point A to point B and the movie suffers a jarring tone because of it. Just as you feel like the story has settled into a manner that befits its strengths something will happen to knock it back down, weak scripting is often a major player in this component. It’s a real shame that Hilditch’s writing doesn’t always match his direction behind camera which captures some fine acting turns to accompany it’s visual highs.

More than likely most well-known overseas for his turn in Wolf Creek, Nathan Phillips has been a recognisable face of Australian cinema for more than a decade now but never before has he been so good in a lead role than he is here as James. James is a not an entirely loveable figure but before long Phillips will have you the viewer on his side and he becomes a wholly believable character with actions that I’m sure would be realistic come the case of life imitating art. It’s also a huge plus for the film to have such a quality child turn from Angourie Rice as Rose, she is a very competent on screen presence and you’d expect to see her for many years to come in the Australian film industry. The one two act of James and Rose takes up much of the films run time and rightfully so as they’re the glue that binds the film together to the extent that it lays.

These Final Hours is a film I desperately wanted to love more, there were so many things I witnessed in this fine tale that made me deeply consider I was watching a new Australian classic and a dead set apocalyptic classic at that, but there were sadly far too many elements that didn’t gel and some amateur scripting along with some ridiculous supporting turns really knocked the film back down to earth. There is no questioning however that These Final Hours is a highly watchable and often hugely impressive Australian effort that if nothing else offers director Hilditch his calling card for a career that should eventually produce something truly incredible.

3 unfinished puzzles out of 5

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5 responses to “Film Review – These Final Hours (2013)

  1. I agree with this assessment – it does a lot right, but it doesn’t quite resonate as well as it should. I think it’s perhaps a little too one-note, given its strong Christian overtones and overemphasis of suicide? Not a bad flick at all though.

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