A fair word of warning: I’d be surprised if there were many people who are going to love this movie as much as I did. It’s just my kind of movie. I love dystopias and/or apocalyptic end of the world-movies, and found this one to be particularly engaging. What spoke to me pretty much from the beginning was the sense of dread and despair. In “These Final Hours”, it truly is the end of the world, and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s no drilling rig-crew that sets off in a space shuttle in order to put a bomb into the huge asteroid that’s going to hit us, no mighty Avengers that prevent those mean aliens to wipe us out, no nothing. It’s also not one of these apocalypses where at least a small rest of humanity is going to survive. The entire planet gets engulfed a huge wall of fire. Many other parts of the world have already gone, and one of the last areas that it will hit is the west coast of Australia. Nevertheless, by the time this movie starts, even for all the people who are still alive, the end is only mere hours away.
Where would you go, what would you do, whom would you meet, if you knew that in 12 hours, everyone on this planet is going to be dead? It’s a question that I inevitably had to ask myself when watching the movie. Granted, the answer the movie provides might not be the most original and/or surprising. There are raiding parties that steal, rape and kill, some choose to face the end quietly and alone, others decide to end their life prematurely instead of getting burned alive, and then there’s of course also the huge rave party going on that follows Britney Spears advice (and/or the example of “Matrix: Reloaded”) to “dance until the world ends”. The latter was exactly what James originally wanted to do. But then, on his way there, he sees how a bunch of guys drag a screaming young little girl into a house. He tries to simply go away, to tell himself that whatever they’re going to do to her, everybody will be dead in a couple of hours anyway, so what does it matter? But ultimately, he can’t simply turn his back, and saves her.
I love movies that deal with holding on to humanity in an inhumane world, which is exactly what James is doing here. I also love that he’s definitely not your typical, clear-cut hero. He left his pregnant girlfriend to face the end of the world alone in order to meet his other girlfriend at the end-of-the-world rave party. Thus, he starts off in this very unsympathetic place – but during these final hours of his life – and also humanity – when one could say that it doesn’t really matter anymore how we behave anyway, he grabs this chance to become a better person right before the end, and goes on this path of redemption. And I found his journey to be immensely gripping and engaging. I don’t wanna say anything more about what happens, but let’s just say that when the movie drew close to the end, I was at the edge of my seat, desperately hoping that James would be successful in his final quest. The last movie that managed to thrill me like that was last years “Gravity”. I just found it to be really tense.
“These Final Hours” is not a big budget affair, and there are instances when you can see and feel that. For example, there are no huge crowds around, and most of the places and roads seem more deserted than you would expect even under these dire circumstances. Having said that, the actual end of the world looked absolutely stunning. I also loved the soundtrack. It might be almost a little too reminiscent of John Murphy here and there, but since I love his work, I didn’t mind at all (I just wish they would have been able to hire him instead of going with someone else and seemingly telling him to copy Murphy’s particular style). The story was really engaging and sometimes even moving, and I absolutely loved loved loved the ending, and the thoughts and emotions it evoked (at least for me). “These Final Hours” is a beautiful, moving film that haunted me for a long time afterwards, and even though chances are that you won’t be as blown away by it as I was, I’d implore you to check it out.