From the Chicago Reader (August 12, 2005). — J.R.
* (Has redeeming facet)
Directed and written by Gus Van Sant
With Michael Pitt, Lukas Haas, Asia Argento, Scott Green, Nicole Vicius, Ricky Jay, and Thadeus A. Thomas.
A film about a junkie rock musician, played by Michael Pitt at his most narcissistic, doing nothing in particular for the better part of 97 minutes isn’t my idea of either a good time or a serious endeavor. Yet a few of my colleagues seem to be responding to Gus Van Sant’s Last Days the way some responded to The Passion of the Christ – taking it without a grain of salt or an ounce of irony. But it’s the grunge version of the Christ story, so that makes it hip.
Manohla Dargis of the New York Times writes that it’s about the “resurrection of Gus Van Sant,” the “mystery of human consciousness,” the “ecstasy of creation,” and “how sorrow sometimes goes hand in hand with the sublime.” Even a compulsive jokester like the New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane sounds like he just stepped out of Sunday school, writing, “Some of the motion has a hypnotizing grace,” and when the camera retreats from a house where Blake (Pitt) is noodling distractedly on his guitar, “We might as well be overhearing him at prayer.” When Blake finally dies we see “his soul, as naked as a baby, rise languidly from his broken body and clamber out of the frame.” All of which, I suppose, adds up to Mel Gibson lite.… Read more »