Last Night follows a married couple and the events of a single night apart. Michael, the husband, is on a business trip to Philadelphia with a colleague who he finds incredibly attractive. Joanna, his wife, encounters her ex-lover and they both have to fight with temptation for one night.
This is the directorial debut of writer Massy Tadjedin and a great one at that. Tadjedin is best known for writing the screenplays for The Jacket and Leo and has finally decided to take a shot at directing one of her stories. Starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet, it has a top level cast, so it’s a wonder why this romantic drama only got a limited cinema release back in June.
The movie begins with Joanna Reed (Knightley) & her husband Michael (Worthington) getting ready to go out to a business party. Joanna is a writer and Michael a commercial real estate developer. They are a completely believable couple, with what seems like a happy marriage on the surface. They have a perfectly formed upper class apartment and are content and comfortable with each other. Michael is constantly whispering sweet nothings in Joanna’s ear and they can’t keep their hands off each other. This is until Joanna sees Michael chatting and flirting with Laura (Mendes), with whom he is working on a development project. As can be expected in these situations, Joanna is jealous and suspicious of their relationship especially since Michael has never mentioned Laura before.
Joanna puts two and two together to come to the conclusion that Michael is obviously having an affair with this woman and a heated argument ensues.
With Joanna sleeping on the couch and Michael adamant that he hasn’t done anything wrong, they finally make up before he has to go on another business trip to Philadelphia…with Laura. Can you see where this may be heading?
This is where Last Night splits into two stories. While Michael is resisting temptation on his work trip, Joanna takes a stroll to the coffee shop and bumps into her ex-boyfriend Alex (Canet). In a unexpected turn of events, he happens to be in New York for the day and just so happens to ‘bump into her’. They agree to meet up for dinner later.
You can tell from the get go that Joanna still has feelings for Alex, as she sits and looks at old pictures from when they were together two years ago and gets dolled up for their dinner date. And who wouldn’t have feelings for him? He’s a smooth, suave French man, with over active hands and charm. Alex’s face lights up a treat when he hears those four special words ‘Michael’s out of town’. Now’s his chance to show the one that got away that he is still the right man for her.
The movie keeps switching between the two nights, with Mike’s lust for Laura and Joanna’s re-awakened love for Alex and the increased temptation of infidelity between the two completely different, yet ultimately the same, situations.
Both circumstances are a recipe for disaster and with gleaming performances from all four actors, the will they, won’t they questions are raised right up to the final third of the film.
Mendes creates a convincing sexual predator, with baggage of the loss of a partner and all parties involved have their reasons for their actions.
It’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch and very voyeuristic, as you’re thoughts keep switching between whose side you’re actually on and questions arise like; is it worse to have a one night stand with no meaning, or to spend a night with someone that you truly love, but cannot have?
Last Night is a simple, yet haunting story, but I never once found myself bored. I was intrigued and concerned to find out what happened within this couple’s relationship, who really, I had only just met an hour and a half ago. The movie is very open ended and we’re left with the sense that the Reed’s have got a rough patch ahead of them.
The overall quality of the DVD and picture was great, but the extras leave a lot to be desired, with only a ‘making of’ & ‘Trailer’ section. It’s not exactly a ‘making of’ either; more just a couple of interviews with the director and cast, which are of quite poor quality.
The interview with Tadjedin is quite interesting though, as it looks like it may well have been from a personal experience of hers and she too has had to deal with the same insecurities and issues with monogamy.
Last Night will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 17th October and it is a thoroughly good watch, with terrific performances all round.
Director: Massy Tadjedin
Cast: Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet
Country: USA, France