Published on July 14th, 2012 | by David PInson0
4:44 Last Day on Earth Available on DVD/Blu-ray July 17th
No, not about inventing the Internet. Not about Man Bear Pig.
It turns out that Global Warming will be the end of times.
And not in the -everything is going to explode and look cool a la Roland Emmerich’s “Day After Tomorrow” and “2012”-sort of a way. Here, the final moments are going to be more like- glowing sky gets brighter and puts an end to some pretentious performances – kind of finale. Thanks Global Warming! Had the film gone on until 4:45 I don’t think I could handle it.
We meet Cisco (Willem Defoe) and Skye (Shanyn Leigh) a few hours before Earth’s deadline. They live in New York City and seem ever the hip couple. Cisco is a musician and Skye paints (and by “paints” I mean she pours paint on a poor canvas strewn across the ground). The couple is surrounded by technology as televisions spew the news of impending doom mixed with philosophical musings of people like the Dali Lama. What’s it all about? Heavy stuff, man. Heavy stuff.
Cisco and Skye spend their time making love and eating take out while roaming around contemplating existence. Cisco Skypes with loved ones.
Again. We are soaking in technology and are prone to watch the end of the world on a television screen before we look out the window to see the final swell of light.
The film was written and directed by Abel Ferrara (“Bad Lieutenant,” “Go go Tales”) who has a great idea in examining something so catastrophic and grand on such a personal scale. To sit in an apartment in the Lower Eastside and watch the world collapse is interesting and “4:44 Last Day on Earth” succeeds on some fronts. It’s easy to become introspective as you watch but the characters (and the performances) can be difficult to relate too. The digital camera Ferrara uses to capture the film makes the images look to pedestrian and the footage comes off as amateurish. The movie loses its impact through poor execution.
Defoe is an amazing performer and has built a fearless career on equal parts blockbusters and small films such as this. During his long speeches spent asking the universe why, he comes off as incredibly scripted and sounds like he is improvising. I understand that he is probably improvising, but an actor’s job is to hide this fact. As his love and companion, Shanyn Leigh is lifeless as Skye. This makes it impossible to care about our ill fated couple and, in turn, this ill fated world.