become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

These Final Hours movie review: armageddon a hint of emotion

These Final Hours yellow light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

It’s the end of the world. Finally, a legitimate reason for a man to experience emotion. We’ve seen this all before… except not quite so ridiculous.
I’m “biast” (pro): big science fiction fan
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

End of the world, for real. No heroes to save the day. No reprieve. A big-ass meteor has hit in the North Atlantic, and Australia has 12 hours before the planet-scouring firestorm hits. (There may be some scientific problems with this scenario: an Earth-killing strike would perhaps wrack even the other side of the planet instantly with unendurable quakes and the like? But never mind.) Everyone has known for quite a while that this has been coming, and James (Nathan Phillips: Snakes on a Plane) has plans: to be as wasted as possible when armageddon hits, because “it’s gonna hurt a lot and I don’t wanna feel it.”

This requires that he abandon his girlfriend Zoe (Jessica De Gouw) in these final hours in order to get across Perth to be with his other girlfriend, Vicky (Kathryn Beck), at one last orgy. James is such a great guy that he hesitates to rescue Rose (Angourie Rice: Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie), who’s about 10 years old, from a couple of pedophiles intent on making the little girl’s final hours a living hell. But don’t worry: The impending end of the world and one cute little blonde girl in distress will finally make James experience all the feels.

Kudos to Australian writer and director Zak Hilditch for creating the most ridiculous example yet of Inventing A Scenario In Which A Man Might Legitimately Have Emotions. (Don’t all these male filmmakers realize that positing that men are incapable of emotion except in extreme cases of extremis is a fairly anti-man thing to posit?) How much more interesting might the end of the world be from the perspectives of Zoe or Vicky or James’s mother (Lynette Curran: Oscar and Lucinda), with whom he has a brief last visit? All these women have no problem expressing themselves, which should be a plus when time is running out for expressing anything at all… and yet this is perceived by James — and, by extension, intended to be perceived by the audience — as a bit embarrassing. (Rose at least gets a bit of a story, though she doesn’t have quite the capacity to appreciate what is about to happen.)

There are some striking moments here — the final shot is haunting — but this is very similar to other films we’ve seen before: On the Beach, Last Night, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Though it’s nowhere near as melancholy or as bittersweet as any of them.

yellow light 2.5 stars

please help keep truly independent film criticism alive!
support my work at Patreon  support my work at Substack
Pledge your support now at Patreon or Substack.

When you purchase or rent almost anything from Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and iTunes (globally), you help support my work at Flick Filosopher. Please use my links when you’re shopping at either service. Thank you!

These Final Hours (2015) | directed by Zak Hilditch
US/Can release: Mar 06 2015 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: May 06 2016

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, sex, violence, drug use)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap