Last Orders (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Last Orders (2001) is the story of a group of aging Army buddies, who are driving to Margate with the ashes of their recently departed best friend at his request to scatter them in the ocean. During the lengthy drive, which includes several detours to lift a pint or two, we learn from discussions, flashbacks, and memories about the intertwined history of all of those involved.

NUDITY REPORT

The exposure came from Claire Harman in one of the flashbacks, having sex in a van. We see breasts and buns.
There are many films dealing with the loss and grieving. This film takes a much better approach, where people remember the good times. The plot is simple, it is a character driven drama, superbly acted and photographed. Some critics have complained about thick Cockney accents. Fortunately, English subtitles were available, and I sometimes had to fall back on them.

The film is delightful, and looks great, but will not be to everyone's taste. Hard core action fans will find nothing of interest here, but even people who are not generally fond of character driven drama/comedy might enjoy this one.

DVD info from Amazon

Director's Commentary
Widescreen anamorphic format
, 1.85:1

Scoop's note: tremendous cast of some of the most distinguished British character actors of the last few decades: Tom Courtenay, Helen Mirren, Ray Winstone, Michael Caine, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins. (I guess Terrence Stamp was busy.)

People have said that director Fred Schepisi had a great movie in him. Took him look enough to deliver one. He's 63 years old. He came close with Six Degrees of Separation. I'm happy to see how well this film was received.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3.5/4, filmcritic.com 3/5

  • General UK consensus: two and a half stars. Daily Mail 5/10, Daily Telegraph 6/10,The Guardian 9/10,The Times 3/10, Evening Standard 8/10, The Express 8/10, The Mirror 8/10, BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 7.5/10, Guardian voters 8.8/10
  • with their dollars: With all its fine reviews and great stars, it was a miserable bust at the box. $2.1 million US gross, about a million bucks in the UK. The production budget was $12 million, so it stands as a moderately big loser at the moment.

 

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B-. (Scoop: C+. I liked the film just as much as Tuna, but I don't think a B- could be right. 90% of filmgoers won't be able to enjoy it at all because nothing happens, so it's all talk, and the accents are thick. Those 10% who do enjoy it will really have to pay attention and concentrate in order to reap its benefits, not just because of the working class accents, but because the pleasure of the film comes from the dialogue and the characters. Since so many actors represent the same people at different ages, you can't relax at all. You really have to pay attention and see how it all folds together. I didn't have any problem understanding the dialects, but the film demanded my undivided attention. I think it's a terrific movie, with many of my favorite actors, but it's definitely only for the tiny audience for actionless character-based drama, and not a crossover film. Sad, but true.)

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