Wisconsin Film Fest: 4:44 Last Day on Earth
What would you do if you found out that the world was coming to an end at 4:44 a.m. the following day? Would you go to a special place? Would you pursue a list of things that you always wanted to do in your life? Or, would you spend whatever time you had left on the planet with either your spouse or family? Cisco (Willem Dafoe) chose option number three in this scenario in the new Abel Ferrara independent film “4:44 Last Day on Earth,” which premiered at the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival.
This apocalyptic drama centers around two artists who are living in an apartment room together. While spending the last remaining hours of their lives before the world ends due to problems with planet earth’s ozone layer in this “dystopian-like” future.
Most of the film centers around Skye’s (Shanyn Leigh) and Cisco’s perspective of the apocalypse. Throughout the film, Skye seems to be working on a giant abstract painting, which the viewer does not get shown until the end of the film. While Cisco, is always on his computer talking to family members and friends through Skype.
When Skye and Cisco are not busy with these two activities, they are either dancing to strange music, or making love. Later in the film, Cisco gets to meet up with some friends and family members of his in a nearby New York apartment, down the street from Skye’s and his apartment.
The film has a clear vision at this point in the story that people are living their lives in ways that they would not normally live them. Several people, if not everybody, are consuming large amounts of alcohol, and are experimenting with drugs until the clock strikes 4:44 a.m. on Earth’s final day of existence.
Once Cisco says goodbye to all his friends and family that he got in contact with, and saw in person, he immediately heads back to his apartment room to spend his final minutes of life with his wife Skye. Skye contacted her friends and family through Skype also, but did not see any of them in person. The film shows us that the couple spent their final minutes together on earth in each other’s arms on the ground, while their lives flashed before their eyes.
Many viewers will like the believable approach the film takes on the whole “end of the world” theme. The interviews with the religious figures and the apocalyptic predictors all felt believable, and the interviews were either filmed with a professional news reporter, or through some kind of web cam that these people filmed by them self, and were then showed live on the news.
Dafoe’s acting performance as Cisco in this film is also very believable. He always seems scared about what will happen when his life ends, and is always on his feet pursuing his last minute desires.
The film also had a lot of freedom with itself when it allowed its characters to live life to the fullest, some chose to use their final hours wisely, while others chose to waste it with drugs and alcohol.
As good as this apocalyptic story was, it also had its share of flaws. One problem the film runs into right away is that some of the film’s scenes dealing with sexual content seem to run on too long. Another aspect of this film that might bother some people is the fact that the director never explains why this couple was alone during this apocalypse, that they didn’t spend it with their families. The film made its point that this couple had trouble on both sides of their families, but why not spend the last minutes of their lives with them?
Also, the Skye character didn’t seem as worried about the world ending compared to the other characters in this film, it wasn’t a bad performance by Shanyn Leigh, but it would have felt more realistic to have this character feel more worried about her life ending.
But for those seeking an interesting approach on the “apocalyptic” sub-genre, “4:44 Last Day on Earth” might just do the trick.