TIFF Movie Review: Last Night (2010)

Guillaume Canet and Keira Knightley in Last Night
Photo: Miramax

Massy Tadjedin's (2005's The Jacket screenwriter) feature directorial debut Last Night is a stunning tale of fidelity and marital trust. Tadjedin seduces both her characters and the audience to the point she has you in the palm of her hand. To assume you know how the relationships in this story will play out means you are underestimating her script as she teases and keeps you on edge up and beyond the film's last breath.

Last Night
Grade: A-

Last Night"Last Night" is a Tribeca Film release, directed by Massy Tadjedin and is rated R for some language. The running time is .

The cast includes Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington, Guillaume Canet, Griffin Dunne, Anson Mount and Scott Adsit.

Starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) and Keira Knightly as Michael and Joanna Reed, the film opens with the two at a party thrown by one of Michael's business associates. It is here Joanna witnesses a conversation between Michael and his beautiful colleague Laura played by Eva Mendes. Making assumptions based on body language and how attractive Laura is, Joanna jumps to conclusions causing the two to get in an argument later that night. Trouble is, the next day Michael is heading to Philadelphia with Laura for a two-day business trip, and his attraction to her now seems to be heightened. Perhaps it would have happened regardless, but the discussion he had with his wife certainly didn't help matters.

On the flip side of the coin, with Michael out of town, Joanna heads to a local New York cafe where she runs into an old flame, Alex, played by the handsome French thespian Guillaume Canet (Tell No One). Only in town for another 24 hours, he invites her to dinner and the story of both Joanna and Michael's temptation plays out before our eyes. A story where every touch and/or slip of the tongue plays a huge factor in the narrative's trajectory.

Knightley, Worthington, Canet and Mendes are all excellent in this film. Some more than others. Knightley proves she isn't simply best fit for period pieces as she fits into her role here as Joanna better than any other modern film she's had in her career. She bounces from one emotional high to the next with ease; at first overreacting to a knee-jerk opinion, to asking for forgiveness for her actions and finally her questionable lust for a former lover. Worthington's work is slightly closer to par as his actions are a bit less subtle, but then again when a man is attracted to a woman is he ever all that subtle?

Canet and Mendes are superb as the film's two seducers. Both are appropriately self-serving and, as is probably the case in real life, the man is far more blunt in his approach verbally while the woman uses her feminine wilds in an effort to get what she wants. It's all so well done I almost wouldn't recommend couples with fidelity and/or trust issues to give it a watch because every aspect of infidelity is touched upon. Tadjedin leaves no stone unturned.

Ask yourself, if your partner kissed another man/woman but that was as far as it went how would you react? Have you ever been tempted to cheat? Have you been accused of doing so when it wasn't true? Have you been the accuser? That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Last Night deals with very real questions that I'm sure have, at one point or another, concerned most every couple, married or otherwise. And while some moments are a bit contrived to get the story to the point Tadjedin wants it to reach, once the story gets there you are immediately thrust back into the film's narrative.

This is a fantastic film that will have audiences talking once they leave the theater, not only for the nature of the film, but in the way in which it is made. Tadjedin has crafted a beautiful film and damn near created a romantic thriller out of a talky film about fidelity. No, I'm not talking about slit throats and bloodshed, but that doesn't mean the film's subject matter hurts any less. Brilliant if you ask me.


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  • Scott M

    Glad to hear you liked it, I'm excited to see this.

    • Tanya Marie

      I saw this movie last night and I thought this was SUCH an incredible movie! Honestly, Although I like her, I've never been overly impressed by Keira Knightley as an actress.

      Her role as a women torn by being faithful to her husband, that she loves & the former lover than she still loves/longs for was amazing. So believeable and I really felt her performance. I thought all the leads were really excellent. You could truly relate to each character's POV.

      It's a universal theme that anyone could imagine themselves in. I especially loved the sweetness & emotional connection that she felt for her former lover, Alex.

      Excellent, excellent movie. A must see!

  • Will

    oooh yeah! I've been waiting for this one for ages. Funny that when they shot this, Worthington was basically unknown. How things change.

  • Adu

    Hey Brad...the review sort of reminded me of Revolutionary Road. I know the story is different, but the performances, emotion and energy in Rev.Rd blew me away. Would you say Last Night is along those lines or rather subtle in comparison?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Much different film than Revolutionary Road. I almost compared it to Closer (a film I love BTW), but cut that from the review because Closer is a larger story (Last Night takes place over about 48 hours) and far more vulgar. In that sense I decided a comparison to Closer would set up false expectations.

      • amit

        yes, brad ...in fact your review and the synopsis screamed "CLOSER REDEUX"....i could even correlate the roles played by clive owen, julia roberts, jude law & natalie portman...

  • Colin

    Very surprised by the positive response. This was one that I hadn't been paying much attention to. But I'll definitley try to check it out as as possible.

  • JM

    I was automatically intrigued by this film the moment I saw it on IMDB a few months ago. The premise is right down my alley, and having Knightley, Worthington, and Mendes involved ups my interest. And now this review. It's going on my movie list tonight.

    Infidelity, internal conflict, hard questions, and all over the space of two or three nights. Sounds like "Eyes Wide Shut," and that's my #1 movie of all time.

    • Erin

      It's not like EWS at all. It's more like "Closer" but with a far more emotional and heart-felt tone. Way softer. Truly a beautiful movie. Just saw it tonight at TIFF.

  • carrie

    OMG Sam W was good!

    • carrie

      and i disliked "closer" too puritan for me

  • Elijah K

    The main question I have, which for me has a great impact on the movie as a whole, relates to the character relationship between Knightley and Worthington. In that although it seems these two have but some twenty minutes together on screen, do you actually by them as a couple who did fall for one another? My basic problem with the infidelity tale is that often they fall into the trap where the two lead characters relationship is on the rocks because there was no series foundation in which to base a relationship on to begin with. So the threat of infidelity is somewhat de-fanged as the consequences seem to be minimal as the relationship itself was an inevitable failure. The question behind the film shouldn't solely focus on the act of infidelity but also reach around to the consequences. While Massy Tadjedin doesn't seem to want to outright label her characters actions, without knowing something at heart was lost with her leads I as an audience member don't care if either ends up in a four way with two Japanese woman,the local circus strong man and an iguana named Steve...although on reflection that last bit may say more about me than my psychologists legal profile.

  • Paul Yarbrough

    So Brad, do you think there's any Oscar potential in this? Your review has me incredibly excited for the film now!

  • Kelly

    I've read the script and found it to be infinitely better than Closer. It's captivating and unconventional, and I'm very happy to hear the movie did it justice.

  • Winchester

    This is the kind of film that I like to watch - but not automatically at a cinema.

    This sort of film often gets pushed into the 'rental' category.

  • mfan

    I'm sure this is an excellent film. I've read that at the Princeton film school, they make excellent films using only squares and the color red. I will be renting this, but it's a little frustrating that stars like Kiera Knightley who have the potential to be HUGE stars, insist on doing films meant for a small audience. Does this film help her to make the case of why she should have been hired to play against Johnny Depp in The Tourist? Nope. We already know she can act. So please, Kiera, do a film where the audience can come away with a sense of triumph, or fun, or some kind of positive feeling towards your character that can transfer itself to you. Please.

  • Feedback

    A movie with Sam Worthing that's.... GOOD?!!!!

    Are you serious?

    Damn. Hell has frozen over.

  • http://neverstore Vengerer

    And the Knight Are...??
    (today a policechase, and blulights all over..)
    Critized the Swedish ex Minister of Justice, his father in swe proposition Swede Gov. Proposition 1982/83:54. (Concerning swe state's handling landtheaft of northern regions of Saami territory)., a common theaft of the Knight's property and other ancients folks, indigenous.
    Swedish swe Proposition. (2004/05:79). Abbolish of the 1972 year rengrazing convention. Registering again of the 1751 Border Tractate, with the unique appendix popularly called 'the Lapp Codicil'. ["Første Codicill of tillæg till grensetractaten imellem kongerigerne Norge og Sverrig Lapperne betreffende"] (Fundamental law of Norway's Border Treaty to Sweden, and the Swedish historical claims. Ratificated by 3 Royal Kingdoms and accepted by 5 recent nations, not possible to disqualify at overcomming futuric time). Swede gov.
    In another state, a paper...nazi inflicts 1960's.

    So now it's gonna be some fun.
    Maybe next movie will be called "Triviale-82", in some broccoli meal?
    oh, if meeting that Mikael Persbrandt..sending greetings by a chief de cusine. And watch out for Igor. It's not what you believe, much more decieving.

  • eva

    where the heck can i find a trailer of this movie??i've been searching for like ages??

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Unfortunately there isn't one available yet.

  • Erin

    Just saw this movie at TIFF's premium screening. It's amazing. Sooooo incredibly well acted and relatable. I would watch this over and over again for sure. Sam, Guilliame and Keira all stand out on their own. Beautiful actors. Hope to see Sam in more movies like this....he was great. Guillame took my breath away from the first scene and Keira, there are no words...she makes it seem effortless.

  • Sky

    omg!..cant believe i didnt finish this movie..now i desperately want to know the ending!

  • Brian Llwyd

    I find it hard to believe anyone here really saw the picture. As my pal, one of Canada's most successful feature producers said to me, it is dreg.
    My review on IMDB.

  • laura

    Great film,but the ending was not very good, I thought that at the end micheal and joanna would tell eachother everything and end up going to the people they like most,it ended so quickly!