When Jack Dodd (Michael Caine) passes away, a group of friends tend to his ashes and their claustrophobic car trip across a pub-ridden landscape opens a floodgate of memories. Director Fred Schepisi’s workmanlike adaptation of Graham Swift’s Booker Prize-winning novel Last Orders is remarkably restrained as it is literate. None of the film’s many secrets are hysterically revealed—instead, history carefully unravels and fills in loose ends with remarkable pathos. A crop field was the evocative backdrop for a pure act of love. It is here that Jack and his wife Amy (Helen Mirren) created their mentally handicapped daughter June (Laura Morelli), the embodiment of the man’s lifelong resentment and mistakes. During the film’s emotional clincher, Jack’s son Vince (Ray Winstone) takes a wayward trip to a field where he threatens to discard his father’s ashes. As off-putting to the spectator as he is to Jack’s friends, Vince becomes all too human when secrets from the past seemingly justify his anger. By the time Jack’s meet their final resting place, the film’s characters have grown remarkably close to each other. Last Orders is a male weepy of the rarest kind, a delicate celebration of life and its many mysteries that earns its tears.
- Fred Schepisi
- Fred Schepisi
- Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Ray Winstone, Helen Mirren, J.J. Field, Anatol Yusef, Cameron Fitch, Nolan Hemmings, Kelly Reilly, George Innes, Laura Morelli, Claire Herman, Patricia Valentine
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