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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Last Minute (review)

Deliver us from filmmakers who think they’re auteurs, hacks who think they’re artistes. The DVD release of this never-ran 2001 film was surely timed to coincide with director Stephen Norrington’s would-be summer blockbuster, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but instead it only extends Norrington’s crash-and-burn. Rightly forgotten after a handful of festival screenings in 2001 and 2002, this is a mess of stylistic busywork, pushy techno scoring, and unappealing characters doing things we couldn’t care less about. Overnight, hip Londoner Billy Byrne goes from the cusp of fame to a 15:01 hangover, and his roller-coaster ride takes him from happening fetish clubs you’ll want to avert your eyes from to the catacombs beneath the city where he falls in with a gang of child thieves. It’d be something out of Dickens if Norrington weren’t so intent on making A Clockwork Orange meets Trainspotting (Max Beesley [Glitter], who plays Billy, is apparently the go-to boy when Ewan McGregor laughs in your face). Billy, of course, remains philosophical through it all, railing against idiots with “small craniums” and imploring us not to waste the precious time we’re given here on Earth. It’s excellent advice, and totally apropos here: Give this one a pass. The disc contains hours and hours of extras in which you can explore Billy’s depressing worlds: his dingy flat, the catacombs, the fetish club. But why would you want to?


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MPAA: rated R, for strong sexual content, violence, drug use and language

viewed at home on a small screen

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