Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 12, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

Last Night

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
96 minutes
performer
Sarah Polley, Callum Keith Rennie, Don McKellar, Sandra Oh
director
Don McKellar
author
Don McKellar
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

Six hours left to a matter-of-fact end of the world, but don’t expect apocalyptic activity in Last Night, a surreal, elegantly melancholy, and yet witty ensemble story—the snazzy feature directorial debut of Canadian writer-actor Don McKellar (The Red Violin) and the antidote to Y2K baloney. With understated fatalism rather than Titanic-size hysteria — at once slapstick and ice-cool — McKellar tracks a handful of average but bizarre Canadian earthlings as they prepare in small, banal, personal ways for extinction, then links them in a bigger human whole. Could it be that shared humanity can triumph over our dyspeptic tendency to retreat individually into corners, cubicles, and solitude? McKellar offers hope, but he’s no sap. He knows that even on the night of the Big Finale, a family dinner can be boring as hell.

The doomed are played by a hip cast of north-of-the-border insiders, including Sarah Polley, Callum Keith Rennie, Genevieve Bujold, scene-stealer Sandra Oh (HBO’s Arli$$), and the king of Toronto cool himself, director David Cronenberg, who employed McKellar, Rennie, and Polley in eXistenZ and who plays a gas company employee spending his last hours on the phone assuring customers that service won’t be interrupted. A-

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