Friday, March 11, 2011

The Last Battle aka Le Dernier Combat (1983) by Luc Besson

Shot entirely in black and white and set in a barely inhabited post-apocalyptic world where the atmosphere has rendered humanity mute, Luc Besson's feature length début was nothing short of ambitious. The plot ostensibly follows The Man as he scavenges for parts to keep his light aircraft in repair - venturing out into the wasteland he stumbles across a hospital where he meets The Doctor, a man living in fear of The Brute (played by Jean Reno) who is attempting to gain entry to the hospital and kill the Doctor. Through non-verbal communication, The Man and The Doctor come to help each other in an attempt to survive and keep The Brute at bay. Despite the innovative premise and stark, stylish beauty of Besson's direction, the film moves at an odd pace whereby it's more confusion and intrigue that keeps the viewer watching, rather than for any substance of character or story. The daring decision to have next to no intelligible dialogue throughout doesn't help matters, as the viewer is left to piece together the characters motives without explanation, but it's the score (the epitome of awful 80's synth soundtracks) more than anything else that dates the film and hindered this viewers enjoyment. While still worth checking out for any fans of Besson, the post-apocalyptic genre and cinema in general, it's not the easiest of films to watch, but one that rewards the viewer in spades through Besson's fantastic direction.

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