A quietly intense tale of a young married couple dealing with temptation and, perhaps more importantly, what their true natures might actually be, Last Night doesn’t offer any earth-shattering insights into the nature of love and/or lust. It mopes around, lights cigarettes and stares forlornly off into the distance. It contemplates desire versus commitment/trust and the potential disastrous consequences if one is chosen over the other (and that goes both ways, mind you). And, in the end, it has no answers.
And yet Last Night is one of the most pleasing films to come out this year. It creeps up on you, even when you think it’s keeping its distance. Its characters at first seem unlikable, and then you realize you know people like them, people you might even consider to be your friends. It seems unintrusive and sometimes even uninteresting, and yet you soon realize it’s been under your skin from the start, and you can’t look away or stop thinking about it once it’s over.
As David Gordon Green was given the unofficial title of “the next Terrence Malick” after his debut feature, George Washington, then director Massy Tadjedin at least has the potential to one day be referred to as “the next Wong Kar Wai.” While Last Night doesn’t have the impossibly beautiful imagery of the Hong Kong director’s films (unless you count the gorgeous cast, which includes Sam Worthington and Keira Knightley as the married couple and Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet as their respective sources of temptation), it does have something resembling their steady pacing and hypnotic energy. Like Wai’s In the Mood for Love or 2046, Tadjedin’s Last Night creeps up on you in a slow, slow burn — and burn it does.
Sure, it’s all a bit superficial and the premise a bit stagey. But Last Night, whether you realize it at first or not, ultimately explores the age-old conflict of infidelity in ways both fascinating and unexpected.