Dubby’s dvdiscussion: The end


A storyteller’s duty is to keep people saying “What’s next?” If s/he can’t do that, they get thrown out of the storyteller’s society and their pens and computers are taken away from them.

I believe that after the movie 300, The Last Time is the best movie on DVD of the current year. Ted Keaton does a performance of a life time and co-stars Brendan Fraser and Amber Valletta have to rise and live up to Keaton.

We won’t talk too much about the ending of The Last Time, which is so surprising even the most seasoned movie goer will be left gasping.

What’s it about? Well, partly about salesman, then there is Big Business, and forbidden love and looking after people and then it’s about none of them and all of them at the same time. If you don’t believe me read  on.

As Jim Hemphill says, “As The Last Time begins, Ted is the top dog at his New York firm, and also the most hated due to his nasty attitude toward anyone he deems inferior — which means pretty much everyone with whom he works. He’s especially hard on Jamie (Brendan Fraser), a new trainee from Ohio whose combination of cheerfulness and incompetence is too much for Ted to take. Everything changes, however, when Ted meets Jamie’s gorgeous fiancée Belisa (Amber Valletta), who is clearly just a little too smart and worldly for her naïve boyfriend. Ted and Belisa embark on an affair, and as Ted falls in love, he regains a great deal of his conscience and humanity. The irony, of course, is that he does so in an act of betrayal, and when his guilt causes him to use his influence at work to help Jamie keep his job, it sets in motion a chain of events with serious personal and professional ramifications.

Once the film moves to explore the dynamic between Ted, Belisa, and Jamie, it becomes a thoughtful and rivetting character study. Keaton is amazing in the lead role, playing every note on the emotional scale flawlessly; Caleo’s writing gives Ted the kind of complexity one might expect from a great novel, and Keaton adds further dimension to the character with line readings and gestures that are often surprising but never false.

The most exciting aspect of The Last Time is that it contains a hero about whom we continually learn things, right up until the final scene. And while Keaton has the film’s most overtly dynamic part, Valletta is nearly as good in a more difficult role as Belisa. The mechanisms of the story require her to keep a great deal of her personality submerged until late in the film, but throughout the piece she finds subtle ways to convey the multiple, sometimes even contradictory, reasons that motivate her behaviour. The plotting involving Ted and Jamie’s workplace feels a touch manufactured compared to the natural quality that imbues the love triangle, but in the end, The Last Time is less a tale of corporate nastiness than a highly unconventional love story. It alternates between bleak cynicism and a genuinely romantic sensibility, and this unusual combination makes the movie a great vehicle for Keaton and Valletta, and a compelling drama for the audience.”

It’s me again. What I object to is the small great movie being overlooked in favour of the Big Bucks productions. You miss so much as you did with The Cooler, In Good Company and so many more. So go and see this one. It is storytelling at its best.