Starring: Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine, Helen Mirren
Director: Fred Schepisi
Running Time: 109 mins
Last Orders is a British film about a group of old friends who reminisce about their lives over the years after the death of one of their crew.
Despite appearing, on the face of things, as a two-hour long film about old people talking about their lives, this is an absolutely fascinating story, with heartfelt emotion throughout, stunning acting and beautiful cinematography and score.
The thing that initially drew me to this film is its incredible cast. An ensemble that beats all the others, starring legends Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay and David Hemmings. What’s more is that it’s not just cool to see them all together on screen, but they all play very well off of each other, with convincing and emotional chemistry that really drives home the poignancy of the story.
So, even before the get go, this is a pretty impressive film, but the most surprising thing it manages to do is turn a very understated story into a thoroughly intriguing one. As I said, it’s easy to start this film off thinking that it’s just about these old friends talking about their lives together for two hours, and for the first twenty minutes, it is indeed hard to get out of that mindset.
However, due to the excellent writing and brilliant chemistry between the actors, this turns into a fascinatingly emotional story about life, loss and grieving, as well as a funny, heartfelt one about nostalgia and friendship, holding your attention successfully for the duration despite the reserved qualities of the story.
Therefore, once you’re into a more positive attitude about these people’s stories, this is such a powerfully emotional film, with numerous points throughout having me on the verge of tears due to the poignancy of it all.
It’s not just on an emotional and dramatic level that this film works so well, however. Technically, this is also brilliant. With a score that quietly mirrors the understated story but also tugs at your heartstrings, and cinematography that powerfully evokes the different emotions of the different parts of this group of friends’ lives, the people behind the camera here deserve just as much praise as the people who do so well in front of it, so that’s why I’m giving this a 7.5.