We’re invited into the lives of Michael and Joanna, inside their exceptional apartment. As anyone in New York City knows, prime real estate is hard to come by (And man, their place is nice. Exquisite countertops, an open kitchen. Plus, they have tons of space, which is an oxymoron in NYC.) Michael is a commercial real estate agent, while Joanna is a author. These two are married. We know this because they’re arguing (heh).
Having recently been hitched, I’ve come to learn that marital spats happen for two reasons, and two reasons only: money and women. For this couple it’s the latter. You see, Michael has an attractive co-worker (Eva Mendes) which leads to speculation and insecurity. The two go in circles over who said what, and if anyone put something someplace; although they soon reconcile over veneered smiles and scrambled eggs (not a euphemism).
Michael is played by Sam Worthington, who has made his mark in Hollywood as the ‘it action guy.’ Here he is soft and sensitive; though he still hasn’t found a role for his Australian accent. After the quarrel, Michael goes on another business trip away from the watchful eyes of his wife and into the gaze of his would-be paramour.
Joanna (Keira Knightley) for her part has further issues to address: writer’s block afflicts her attempts at a follow-up novel. Confronting Michael has only served to compact her internal struggles to be creative. While clearing her head, she serendipitously bumps into a former flame (Guillaume Canet) who is in town on business. Joanna and Alex decide to meet for dinner and drinks later. She’s lonely and he’s French. What could possibly go wrong?
Last Night jumps back-and-forth between the decisions made by Michael and Joanna. Ultimately, this is where the film reveals its major faults. Canet (who is the best of the four by far) and Knightley play cutesy while sipping expensive wine and lamenting about the past, while Mendes practically throws her panties at Michael in an attempt to feel better about herself. All sense of intrigue and seduction is thrown out the window, leaving room for force-fed sympathetic stories of failed romance and questionable decision making. Speaking of such, one person strays, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out who, between the Parisian or the Latina, does the best wrecking ball impression.
The film, directed by Massy Tadjedin, relies on whether or not we care about these good looking people and their trivial problems. You can probably decide for yourselves which side I’m on. This would probably work as a short, but as a feature-length production it misses the mark severely. The city of New York is the real and only star here. As usual, the streets and cityscapes paint a stunning portrait that completely overshadows the people showcased within her; When you leave the theatre thinking of sidewalks, buildings, and housing arrangements, the message has been lost.