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TIFF ’10: Keira Knightley’s marriage on the rocks in ‘Last Night’

By Sean O’Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: Toronto closes this year with “Last Night,” a dark relationship drama penned and directed by “The Jacket” screenwriter Massy Tadjedin. The finished film is elegant, honest, and sexually charged. Too bad I hated every main character save for the dog.

The film opens with newlyweds Joanna (Keira Knightley) and Michael (Sam Worthington) at odds. She accompanies him to a work party and is surprised to learn how attractive Michael’s new colleague, Laura (Eva Mendes), happens to be. Joanna questions why her husband never mentioned this. He doesn’t think it’s relevant. Women in the audience looking at Mendes certainly will think it’s relevant, but they’ll have plenty more to debate before “Last Night” is over.

This couple already has trust issues. Things will get worse. While Michael and Laura take a business trip to Philadelphia, Joanna runs into her old flame, Alex (Guillaume Canet). They agree to have dinner and drinks. Both couples flirt. Sexual tensions thickens, giving way to crushing waves of regret.

Tadjedin has produced the anti-date movie. You can practically hear couples arguing, accusing, and deflecting as they emerge from the theater. But while “Last Night” broaches the topic of infidelity, it stops short of digging too deep into why people cheat. Tadjedin’s actors discover new chemistries when they swap partners. Canet runs away with the film, charming Knightley out of her socks. Worthington has never been more dull, but he’s eclipsed by Mendes’ raw sexuality in every scene.

If men want to duck some uncomfortable questions from suspicious wives, girlfriends and lovers after “Last Night,” keep the debate topic in your back pocket. Which actress will women hate more as a result of the seductive, dishonest actions in the film? It will be days before they break out of that conversation and come back around to you.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • September 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    Gee what a surprise that you once again diss Sam Worthington….NOT.

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