Movie Review: These Final Hours

Movie Review: These Final Hours

Facing up to an inevitable end

By Mark HadleyWednesday 23 Jul 2014MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

I don’t know why I do it to myself. Time and again I get excited when I hear a script has surfaced that specifically addresses the end of the world and how it should shape our lives. But more often than not I end up watching films like These Final Hours, where writers offer up the banal as the profound because they have no idea what to say.

Mark Hadley reviews 'These Final Hours'. 

These Final Hours is set in Australia half a day out from an interstellar impact that will obliterate the surface of the earth. Nathan Phillips (Wolf Creek, Snakes On A Plane) stars as James, a young man who decides the best way to face obliteration is to get obliterated. So he abandons his pregnant girlfriend to attend his mate’s party at the end of the universe. However along the way he finds himself rescuing Rose (Angourie Rice), a young girl who’s been kidnapped by two would-be rapists. As his last hours wind down James has to decide whether going out helping someone is a better than helping yourself to another line of cocaine.

At the time of writing this review These Final Hours was yet to be rated, but it’s hard to see it getting away with less than an MA15+ classification. Full frontal nudity, explicit sex, drug taking, strong language and disturbing violence are just some of the tools writer/director Zak Hilditch has used to obscure a plot that lacks any strong convictions. There are the occasional references to higher things – “My dad always said that God has a perfect plan for everyone, that always works out for the best,” says Rose – but these are generally signed off with a cheap obscenity or brutal vignette that’s supposed to seal the argument, even if the characters have said nothing at all.

If Hilditch has one insight to offer it seems to be that selfishness is the wrong response to our mortality. He attempts to be scathing of the self-serving party generation even as his film seeks to profit from cheap nudity and sensationalized violence. But his embracing suicide as a response to a potentially painful future – “There’s no shame in checking out ahead of time. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” – manages to be simultaneously inane and unhelpful. Would he say the same to a young Australian who thought their future lacked sufficient hope to carry on?

James saves Rose from her immediate dangers but has nothing more to offer after that than a lift and a heartfelt look. In the end the best advice These Final Hours can tender is if you’re going to die, it’s best not to die alone. Strangely I agree with the idea, though obviously not with any of the scripts resulting sentimentality. Humans certainly are helpless in the face of death, are ‘Dead already!’ as James repeatedly puts it. So, yes, there’s ultimately no help to be had from one another. But that doesn’t mean there’s no help at all. I’m reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s conclusion as he looked out on an earlier world that was already rejecting the Gospel Jesus brought:

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

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Rating: TBC
Distributor: Roadshow

Release DateE: July 24