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  • In London, in a pub, the friends Vic Tucker (Tom Courtney), owner of a funerary agency, the former boxer Lenny (David Hemmings) and the gambler Ray Johnson (Bob Hoskins) gathers with Vince Dodds (Ray Winstone), the owner of a `showroom', to accomplish the last wish of his father and local butcher Jack Dodds (Michael Caine): to throw his ashes in the sea, in Margate. His wife Amy (Helen Mirren) delivered a note to Ray, where Jack expressed his last desire. Along their journey in a Mercedes Benz, the story of their lives is disclosed through flashbacks or thoughts, where deep secrets are revealed to the viewers along 109 minutes of this excellent film. The cast of this movie is outstanding and their performances are fantastic. There are many subplots and in the end, all the characters are very well developed though their personal dramas, recollections and dialogs. A touching movie about friendship, revelations and farewell, and highly recommended for sensitive persons. My vote is nine.

    Title (Brazil): `O Último Adeus' (`The Last Goodbye')
  • This film is based on a novel by a man named Swift but rather than being a biting satire, it's a film that only a person with a heart of stone could sit through wihtout breaking into tears. While the novel was praised largely for it's experimental style, it's the tenderness and humanity that make this film memorable.

    Wonderfully acted by Michael Caine, helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins and others, it tells the tale of a London butcher's journey to his final resting place and a composite picture of his life is gradually drawn by the people who take him there. his story covers 70 years of british history which are lovingly recreated, but it's the personalities that are striking rather than the historical events that shape their lives. The film has moments of almost sublime beauty and pathos. It's a film that reminds us that, no matter how trivial our lives seem, we still have an impact on those around us.

    Those of us who lament the decline of British cinema into a quagmire of Gangster flicks and rom-coms will embrace this film like a long-lost relative.
  • This is acting of the very highest order by a British dream cast. The pace is leisurely, the tone sad, the journey well worth taking. Why no Oscar nominations? This is so un-Hollywood, it's a balm for adults who want to appreciate the cream of British talent.
  • jotix1007 February 2006
    Graham Swift's brilliant novel serves as the basis of this film, adapted and directed by Fred Schipisi, who gathered some of the best English talent to give life to the characters of the novel in a satisfying film that will not disappoint.

    We are taken to a local pub where three old friends have gone to have a drink before embarking on a trip to Margate. When Vic arrives with a box, it's made clear the ashes of another friend is what has prompted the reunion. In flashbacks, we are taken to see Jack's life from the days of WWII and the way the four friends have met and how their lives have been intertwined.

    There is also Amy, Jack's widow, who is taking a trip on her own to visit a daughter who has been committed to an institution because she is mentally challenged. Amy is also a key figure in the story because of the love Jack felt for her.

    Vince, Jack's son, is driving a late model car to Margate and takes Vic, Ray and Lenny with him. the purpose is to scatter the ashes in the place which Jack wanted to live with Amy, but never got around to it. Vince, is the key figure in the story, which is made clear when he makes a detour to a place that is the pivotal part of this tale.

    Michael Caine is Jack, the dead man, who is seen in flashbacks. Bob Hoskins plays Ray. David Hemmings and Tom Courtenay are seen as Lenny and Vic. Helen Merrin is magnificent in a subtle performance as Amy. Ray Winstone is Vince.

    Fred Schipisi succeeded in creating the right atmosphere in the adaptation of the novel. His sensitive direction works well and he gets excellent backing from his distinguished cast.
  • You know, when I saw this film, there were maybe seven people in the huge theatre at Loews Outer Circle DC. It was kind of disconcerting. I mean, who could blame people -- the film got no billboards or even advertisements, and I only heard about it through reviews in the paper. But this one's a keeper: last time you had Caine & Hoskins working like this was Neil Jordan's crime drama "Mona Lisa." It's great to see them reunite.

    This is really an ensemble film, with great direction and great editing as well. The flashbacks are very well placed, so you don't get a sense of distraction as much as clarification as the filkm goes on. And the filmmakers wisely decide to use visual cues for the memories, instead of arbitrary looks back at the past.

    I can say after seeing this film, I hope that I can end my life with the same kind of buddies as Jack Dodds (withou' o' co'se the necessi'y o' ge'in sloshed every nigh'.) The ensemble really works well off each other -- Ray Winstone, who was nearly incomprehensible in Sexy Beast, here shows a bit more substance as Jack's wayward but successful son. Helen Mirren pulls in a much more vulnerable performance than usual as Jack's wife (and the woman who played her as a young woman is stunning.) Tom Courtenay and David Hemmings provide a nice contrast as the proper undertaker Vic, and the drunken ex-boxer Lenny, yet you can see how they would both appeal to a guy like Jack, a lover of life.

    Of course, for reasons I don't know if I'll ever get, Hoskins is the anchor. I've watched him for many years, playing brutes and sidekicks, mobsters, and fathers, at times playing the Irish, the Australian, the English, or the Italian-American. He has way of blending in and winning your attention. He can be brash, idiotic, cruel, or sweet, wise, and bold, but either way you kind of root for the guy. You can always seem to see his wheels turning just by facial expressions. The guy might never get an Oscar, but his performances are almost always memorable.

    The young actors all convincingly match their older counterparts,a and I found myself watching the way the young Vic went about his medical work and swing dancing and wondering if I'd be lucky enough to end up that way, as Jack says, "having it figured out."

    The ultimate message of the film is as simple and yet profoundly human as the story itself: ending your life is easy, it's the carryin' on that's hard. That's not to say that life is meaningless or awful, but just that you've got to put your heart into it, as Schepisi himself has done here. "Last Orders" and "Lantana" are two of the best unknown films out there right now. Check 'em out.
  • This is a wonderfully warm and human film, perhaps a "guy's movie" as opposed to the many "girls' movies." How can you miss with such a great cast? Helen Mirren. Bob Hoskins. Michael Caine. They do a wonderful job on the story of old friends devastated by the loss of one of their group. If I have one criticism it is the overuse of flashbacks. There even are flashbacks within flashbacks. It's followed easily enough yet the total effect is one of choppiness. But the story is warm, the performances solid and a bonus is the many scenes in and around London. The Brits, unlike Hollywood, do not demand that everything be pretty and that the sun always shine. Helen Mirren is excellent again as a woman past the prime of life. Hollywood would have tarted her up. And there are plenty of grey skies and rainshowers. (Hey, this is England after all} A very fine film that obviously was a labour of love.
  • God-1219 May 2005
    It's funny to read the reviews of those who haven't understood this perfectly balanced film - but then it is clever and subtle and, apart from being sad and touching is extremely funny.

    I've seldom seen characters, situations, attitudes and emotions more perfectly balanced than in this shining gem of a film. It took me right back to Pom and, in particular, the best, most understated delights of the place.

    There were so many sensitively treated sub-plots and topics that it is difficult to select one for particular praise. I think that it would have to be the adultery.
  • Upon reaching a certain age, especially when a proper catalyst is provided, one may become wont to consider and reflect upon the life one has lived-- to take stock, as it were. And, without question, the death of a long-time, close friend or associate can effect such a catalysis, which is precisely what happens in `Last Orders,' directed by Fred Schepisi, a drama that suggests that perhaps the end of a life can offer a valuable and renewed perspective to those who go on to write yet another chapter of their own in this great book we fondly know as the Human Comedy. Finally, it's about individual resolve and beginnings that can be found in endings, and the life therein reserved for those who may yet count themselves among the living.

    Jack (Michael Caine), a working class butcher in London, planned one day to retire with his lovely wife, Amy (Helen Mirren), to the seaside hamlet of Margate. As often happens in life, however, Jack was denied the realization of his dream by the unbidden intervention of Fate, in the form of it's eternal emissary, The Grim Reaper. But Jack enters his everlasting sleep even as he lived his life, one step ahead of the other guy; and the attainment of his final wish begins with the consigning of his ashes to his three closest, life-long friends and his son, Vince (Ray Winstone), along with a request he adjures them as a group to honor. And so it is that Vince, Vic (Tom Courtenay), Lenny (David Hemmings), and Jack's best friend, Ray (Bob Hoskins), set out on a journey to effect the `Last orders' of their good friend, Jack; a journey that will take them into the future by way of the past, as they reflect upon what has gone before, and the possibilities that now lay ahead.

    With this film, Schepisi has crafted and delivered what is essentially a moment in time; a moment he examines through a sentimental journey rife with all of the hard knocks and stoic truths that made up Jack's life, and which he presents just as Jack lived it. And a sentimental journey though it may be, don't expect to be seeing it through rose colored glasses. As the story unfolds, what emerges is a portrait of a complex individual made up of the myriad and many facets of the human condition. And each flashback, combined with an episode from the present, reveals another piece of the puzzle that was Jack; and by the end, the picture we have of him is complete. We see him for who and what he really was, good, bad or indifferent, with all the flaws and foibles that were part and parcel of the ebb and flow of his life-- everything that defined him as a human being. Also, inasmuch as the story is told through the eyes of his friends and loved ones, it necessarily follows that they are revealed, as well, especially Amy and Ray. We do get to know Vince, Vic and Lenny, of course, but to something of a lesser degree. In the final analysis, then, what Schepisi has created here is nothing less than an intimate and incisive character study through which Jack, his friends and their story comes vividly to life. Schepisi does the material proud, but then he was, of course, afforded the talents of an extraordinarily gifted ensemble cast, from which he extracts a number of memorable performances.

    As Lawrence Jamieson in 1988's `Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,' he was the most suave and sophisticated gentleman (albeit con man) the screen has seen since Niven or Grant, but without question, since his portrayal of `Alfie,' in 1966, Michael Caine has been everyones favorite cockney, and no one-- make that NO one-- does it better. And it's precisely that nuance of character that Caine brings to his portrayal of Jack that makes him so alive and convincing. Caine can be ingratiating even when he's playing a `hard' guy, and there is a decidedly hard side to Jack; but there's a very caring side to Jack, too, which Caine also manages to convey with facility, and he does a splendid job of fusing the many sides of his character into one very real whole. It's the kind of top notch performance we've come to expect from Caine, and it makes his character and the film entirely credible.

    When it comes to playing cockney, Caine may be the King, but Bob Hoskins is certainly the Crown Prince, coming in a close second. These two, in fact, would clean up if the Oscars ever decided to include the categories of Best Cockney and Best Supporting Cockney. There are times, perhaps, when you have to turn an ear in to understand what they're saying, but it's part of the charm and viability of their respective portrayals. And Hoskins has an appeal all his own, and though he lacks Caine's charisma, he does have a definite screen presence, all of which helps to make the relationship between Ray and Jack believable.

    The wonderful Helen Mirren, meanwhile, turns in a remarkably poignant performance as Amy. Her portrayal readily brings the inner conflicts and complexities of her character to the fore, as Mirren successfully shows us the many sides of this woman, who is wife, lover and mother, all rolled into one. Most importantly, her Amy is so human; there is an earthiness to her, but it is tempered by her more maternal and caring instincts, and it lends an honesty and integrity to the character that makes her very real.

    Courtenay, Hemmings and Winstone turn in noteworthy performances, too, each making the utmost of the screen time they are afforded, successfully establishing their characters and the nature of their relationship with Jack as well as one another. It's all a part of what makes `Last Orders' such entertaining and engaging cinema, a film that is both sincere and unforgettable. And that's the magic of the movies. 9/10.
  • Last orders is a very simple movie. It is based upon one of cinema's simplest genres: The Road Movie. It is about simple people who lead simple lives wherein very little happens very often. But behind this simplicity lies the dreams and desires and mistakes and wasted opportunities of these simple people. Small things (relatively speaking) which would seem to have little consequence on the outside world; but then, we all live in a much smaller world - don't we - and even the tiniest broken dream can sometimes leave us empty - if only for a moment.

    This is a film then about people. About how people view each other. About how people can harbour the most powerful emotions or secrets - or both - without even those closest to them having the faintest idea. About the importance of friendship and the universality of loss: innocence as well as bereavement.

    So four simple folk take the ashes of their old mate to be scattered into the sea at faded old, lost innocence Margate. While the deceased's wife - avoiding this trip - visits their estranged, handicapped daughter for the final time. We see how they relate (and related) to their old, dead friend and to each other. We see that great tragedy need not be about 'great' people. We see that pure love need not derive from 'pure' people. We see that life and living and loving are as difficult (and as inspirational) for the simplest of folk. And we celebrate this empathy.

    Last Orders is a slow burning film with an occasionally awkward script and a potentially confusing narrative. But for all that, it is a fine, frequently moving, honest piece of cinema. The photography is consistently evocative; the acting is impeccable (Winstone impresses as the stoic son; Hemmings crackles as the bludgeoning, second rate pugilist) and several set pieces are profoundly sincere (the scene in the field is electric); but this is not a film that exists to shine incandescently - only to burn, quietly and slowly, until it says what it has to and the fuse runs out. It's worth staying with because, as simple as these people are, if they can't tell you a little something about the sadness and joy and - above all - the wonderful uncertainty of life... then you're probably already dead.
  • It would be hard to imagine a finer troupe of actors than those assembled for the very believable "Last Orders." An ensemble that meshes so well that I was drawn into the screen barely conscious of their real identities and filmography, the story of the long ride of a man's cremated ashes to his selected disposal site, Margate (of all places - garish, timeworn, solidly tired) is gripping.

    Through flashbacks to events both recent and as far back as combat in the North African desert in World War II the story of three close friends, the wife of one and their son (and peripherally but not insignificantly their catastrophically mentally retarded daughter) reflects the daily small joys and not great setbacks of very average English people. All the characters here could well be neighbors of the folks in "The Full Monty," people whose days are locally if unspectacularly productive and whose pleasures center in daily convivial meetings at the local pub.

    Jack (Michael Caine) faces death more bravely and honestly than he ever did his total rejection of his and his wife's (Helen Mirren) daughter. His disappointment at his son's refusal to join him in the butcher business has been the lot of many. An American version of this tragic rejection would have the son spurn the family business for acting or law or medicine or the Presidency. Jack's son is quite happy to sell cars. A nice touch of English class reality.

    Jack's ashes make a number of detours enroute to Margate while his widow pursues her own very necessary and moving journey to personal closure and the prospect of future happiness. At each stop the relations between the four men in the borrowed Mercedes become more interwoven, detailed and - ultimately - important for each as their mission nears accomplishment.

    The direction is superb as is the muted, sometimes hazy cinematography. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with even the best cast portraying non-Oxbridge types, some speech is indecipherable. Ray Winstone is the chief malefactor in the mumbles competition but his acting is convincing - a fine actor from whom much can be expected. An elderly woman leaving the theater near me remarked, "This wasn't about a Gosford Park - the film needed subtitles." Yes, we have our class consciousness on the Upper West Side too.

    This is a very special film that deserves the widest distribution. It won't get it though, not here. If you can't see it in a theater, rent it when it becomes available.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this with my sister, who has a severely disabled son. Our father is in hospital, possibly for the last time. So, as you can imagine, I was not necessarily in the best frame of mind, but did not have to reach for the tissues. Brilliant performances throughout, as you would expect from the likes of Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, and the rest: even the younger actors who play the characters earlier in their lives are convincing -- they should be proud to have this on their CVs! A group of four men take the ashes of a fifth to be thrown off the Pier at Margate, in accordance with his wishes (The 'Last Orders' of the title). And throughout they reminisce about him and their interactions with him. Many secrets are revealed, and a mystery is cleared up in the course of the journey. All in all it serves as a eulogy for the dead man, showing a portrait of his life with all its hopes and disappointments. And I am sorry if people across the Atlantic have to use subtitles, but we have the same problem here too -- for example, when watching Billy Bob Thornton in 'Slingblade', I had terrible trouble to start with trying to understand his speech until I got 'tuned in'; if you make a little effort, it is worth it.
  • Funerals/memorial services are probably the last place you want to be after a friend's died. The places you hung out at together seem better monuments than a cemetery or a headstone. And maybe that's where the spirit really rests.

    LAST ORDERS is a soft-spoken and beautifully poignant film about the drive to scatter the ashes of a departed friend. Detours to pubs, a war memorial, and the field where he and his wife met stirr the memories of the son and three friends left to carry on. Enduring friendship, fidelity, laughter, and support become the themes of their lives together.

    And whereas, in an americain film, this could all turn into a sappy series of flashbacks - Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Micheal Caine, and Ray Winstone perform with all the subtle grace of traditional British cinema.

    LAST ORDERS is well worth seeing for anyone.
  • Last Orders (referring to the British term for "last call") explores in retrospect the lives of several old, long-standing friends living in the London suburb of Bermondsey. The film begins with an assemblage of friends at a local pub to drink a round to one of their own who passed on. The deceased, Jack (played with appreciable understatement by Michael Caine), gives his friends a posthumous "last order" to scatter his ashes off the pier at the British seaside resort town of Margate. The film then proceeds to follow Jack's friends (accessibly played by Tom Courtnay, David Hemmings and the ever-delightful Bob Hoskins), his son (Ray Winstone in an appropriately sleazy and sympathetic role) and his widow (a reflective and heart-rending Helen Mirren) as they seek to carry out his "last orders" while remembering him and the times they shared. Director Fred Schepisi presents the story of their lives together, both the good and the less-than-stellar, in a series of present-day segments and recent and distant-past flashbacks. Given frequent horrible examples in too many recent films, a film relying heavily on flashbacks has the potential to easily become distracting, confusing, or both. Schepisi demonstrates his skill as he guides this technique with a light, deft touch that keeps the viewer connected with events and maintains a story flow that entices rather than confuses. The life-long camaraderie of the friends, the tensions between them in times of crisis, the father-son struggles between town butcher Jack and his financially ambitious son Vince all play out against the backdrop of a working class environment that many viewers will recognize and even identify with their own lives.

    It is safe to say that this film is touching without being maudlin. The restraint shown by both cast and director coupled with the obvious comfort and pleasure of the cast in working with one another lends an air of authenticity to the characters and to the story as a whole that will make all but the most detached viewer think about the course of their own lives. It is this inspiration of reflection on one's life as compared to those shown on the screen that ultimately makes this one of the better films offered to the public in recent years. Anyone who wants to understand what true friendship can mean should see this film and be inspired by it. It is too bad that films of this superior calibre are rapidly becoming the exception rather than the rule in film making.
  • This is the story of a bunch of old geezers who take their dead friend's ashes down to the sea and toss them off the end of the pier. It is not a film that will appeal to the under-25 demographic, but I enjoyed it. the more I thought about the film afterwards, the more impressed I was with it. It might appear that the film is about the end of life, but it is not depressing and it ends, even as those ashes are tipped into the wind and rain, remarkably upbeat, emotionally.

    The film tells the story of Jack and his friends and family in flashback. From these we gain insights into their characters and relationships and come to understand how their stories lead them to the present day.

    In some sense this is a mystery, as there are several intertwined stories that are slowly revealed by the flashbacks. In addition, the flashbacks don't follow strict chronological order, so it is a matter of piecing them together to make sense of everything. I liked the effect of the flashbacks slowly revealing the characters' stories, as it is very much like real life. You meet someone you nothing about, but over time you learn something of their past from random fragments of information that are let drop.

    The movie mostly rings true, but there are several minor episodes that seem contrived. For example, Ray denies knowing anything about a certain sum of money. The only reason for him to do so is that the audience did not yet know the end of that particular story.

    Jack is played as an old man by Michael Caine. A striking piece of casting is JJ Feild, who plays Jack as a young man. He looks exactly as I imagine Caine would have as a young man.

    The story reveals a period of more than 50 years. If it had been told in chronological order, it would have been, like so many sagas, fragmentary and it would not have worked. Instead the film takes place over the course of a single day, which gives it coherence, with the flashbacks providing richness and depth.

    This is a subtle portrayal of Jack and his friends that is deeply satisfying.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is something of an old boy's reunion, as Vic (Tom Courtenay), Len (David Hemmings), Ray (Bob Hoskins), and Vince (Ray Winstone) go on a trip to Margate Pier to dispose of their friend Jack's ashes (Jack is played in several flashback scenes by Michael Caine, while Helen Mirren is his wife Amy).

    During the journey we see several snippets of conflict between the four men and witness many events from their lives in flashback - Vince's decision not to follow his family trade of butcher's shops; Ray's short-lived affair with Amy; Vince getting Len's daughter pregnant. We also see something of Jack and Amy's marriage, from their first meetings and flirtations, to the comfort of a long partnership. The fact that a severely disabled daughter, June, both keeps them apart and together is interesting.

    As a film 'Last Orders' feels comfortably old-fashioned. The acting of the principals is assured and as such, we are swept along with the plot, however improbable and coincidental it may be at times. None of the characters are clichéd, and all are likable to some extent - we can see how events of the past have made them what they now are.

    Shamefully put into cinemas on a limited distribution, 'Last Orders' got a new lease of life when it became a free giveaway DVD in a UK newspaper, which meant it was potentially available to a wider audience (which makes me question whether in fact the use of these promotions could be to let films which quickly left cinemas be widely viewed).
  • I just watched this movie for the first time recently and I was incredibly touched by it. It is about four friends going to Margate to scatter the ashes of their late friend, Jack (and father to one of them), intertwined with a subplot of Jack's widow, Amy, reminiscing with one of the four remaining friends, Ray, about her late husband. There is great potential for an over-sentimentalization of Jack, but luckily, the movie remembers the character in a touching, humorous, and heart-warming way that is anything but sappy.

    The actors have a wonderful camaraderie, making you believe that these characters really are the best of friends, as opposed to actors trying to pretend at friendship. I especially enjoyed the scenes between Amy and Ray, played by Helen Mirren and Bob Hoskins, who I think both did some of the best acting I have ever seen, in this film. They were so incredibly natural at portraying their characters that I completely forgot that I was watching two actors act. They also had such wonderful chemistry on screen, appearing so at ease with each other, as only people who've known each other for years can, that it makes me wonder if the actors are friends in real life as well.

    This is a poignant movie about friendship that portrays this human relationship remarkably realistically on screen. Highly recommended!
  • "Last Orders" is a beautiful movie about friendship, family, life, death and love, a rare and sentimental film that really touches you. The cast is superb, everyone shines in the portrayal of a group of old friends and their relatives, and the young actors playing them in the past are also convincing. Is great to find a film like this in these days of lack of ideas, pointless remakes and digital effects. The characters here are, after all, common people, with all the hope, pain, sorrow, suffer and dreams portrayed with conviction. Beautifully photographed (the English weather is perfect for this kind of film) and directed, "Last Orders" is a little gem that deserves your attention. Recommended!
  • Atmospheeric, brooding, and thought-provoking, this film is not to be missed. I saw it on TV, and cannot recall it having a run on circuit (in SA) in 2000.

    It is a totally non-pretentious film: some drinking, lifelong mates are going to scatter the ashes - the Final Orders - of a buddy who has died. Through flashbacks, we see the intricacies of relationships, decisions that are made, and memories that are shared.

    It's a deeply moving film, with excellent ensemble acting. I heartily recommend this film: it's rich, multi-layered and well worth watching. It's a story about life and living, although it deals with death!
  • A marvelous screen adaptation of the stupendous and heartbreaking Graham Swift novel. Four friends travel across the English countryside to honor their dead buddy's wishes and scatter his ashes into the sea. Along the way, the back stories of these friends, their various fights and reconciliations, are recounted in flashback. It's a poignant and touching story about the evolving nature of friendship and the scariness and loneliness of growing older.

    The book had a Faulknerian structure; each chapter was told from the point of view of a different character. The screenwriter had the daunting task of adapting that unfilmable style to the screen, and he chooses to take a straightforward, linear approach, but the story doesn't suffer for it. Certain things are left out, but he chooses the right things to eliminate. Most importantly, the movie adheres closely to the book's melancholy but cathartic tone.

    A host of terrific British actors play the group of male friends: Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, David Hemmings, Tom Courtenay and Ray Winstone (where was Albert Finney?) But the powerhouse performance comes from Helen Mirren, as the angry but resigned widow. Her character didn't have any passages of her own in the book; you only learned about her through others. The screenplay's greatest alteration is in filling out her character and it also happens to be one of the film's greatest assets. A scene in which Mirren goes to visit her mentally retarded daughter in an institution (a daughter who may or may not even know who Mirren is) is quietly devastating.

    A truly extraordinary movie. It didn't get a lot of attention and I don't know a lot of people who have seen it, but I would strongly recommend looking for it (and read the book, too, while you're at it).

    Grade: A+
  • stuart-bennett2 February 2005
    Would have to agree with the last comments that another viewing of the film is to be recommended.Helen Mirren is terrific along the majority of the cast.I liked the way the characters where portrayed as very ordinary working class people with a number of twists to the story which where revealed in the flashbacks to another era of their lives.their are one or two surprises along the way as well.The film is very well made and beautifully shot and the young actors are a credit to themselves.I found the scattering of the ashes at Margate pier very poignant and emotional and it really rammed home the fact that these people where very good friends indeed.well worth watching i thought.
  • I was not sure what to expect from this film other than it came recommended by my sister, who had read the book. Containing some of Britain's finest - Caine, Hoskins, Winston, geezers through and through - it was, to me, a must watch film.

    I was not disappointed - beginning in a good old London boozer, the story soon unfolds that the main characters are assembling to carry out the Last Orders of Jack Dodds (played by Caine), recently deceased. These Last Orders are to scatter his ashes from the end of Margate Pier, the place that he was planning to live in retirement (Margate, not the end of the pier!).

    As the film gets underway, the past histories of the main characters unfold, from how Jack first met Amy (played in later years by the superb Helen Mirren, looking more than her age for once), to the relationship that was, between Jack and his son Vince (Ray Winston).

    The story was not the fastest of moving, but you had to stay alert to keep up with the many different eras that were depicted through the flashbacks in no chronological order.

    Despite this, there was no confusion, and with a superb ensemble present, a clever story was conveyed well on to the screen.

    Not a film for someone expecting an all-out, action packed, escapism adventure but a must see for those wanting a meaningful storyline. One last point of note - a superb perform from "Young Jack" - it could have been a young Caine!

    I must now read the book!
  • Maybe I would not have watched this movie if Michael Caine wasn't one of its main actors. Fortunately, he is, and thus fortunately I have.

    This is a silent, profound piece of art that leaves you all at once: pensive and melancholic, yet eased and encouraged. A wonderful example for a lovely cineastic masterpiece that goes very well without breathtaking action scenes, excessive crime and violence and overall extremeness, elements which seem to be consired necessary in so many (mostly US-American) movies nowadays. If immoderate consumption of the latter haven't made you completely callous yet, you are bound to enjoy this one.
  • As we go to the cinema rather infrequently these days, it is an overwhelming pleasure to realise just how much you've enjoyed the past hour or two. Wanting a film to go on and on must be a recommendation in itself. Then you start to analyse slightly and realise you've been watching actors and actresses who know their craft inside out and manage to give the feeling that they're real people. Top performances, superb direction and music that fitted so well it was scarcely noticed. What a refreshing change to watch down-to-earth characters who find it unnecessary to constantly mouth obscenities because the director thinks it provides more authenticity and punch. My wife and I found this was well worthy of at least 9 out of 10 and would be happy if we were able to say a big "Thank You" to all those involved.
  • It's not surprising to see that as people age, they rate this film increasingly positively. It's a journey of reflection and remembrances - as the actors characters takes us into their memories of their relationship of their deceased, lifelong pal and as they carry out their "last orders" we are taken into a series of memories. It's impossible to view this film and not reflect on ones own important friends and significant memories. And, there are other themes ... the particular loss that parents feel at the untimely demise of one of their children, the difficulties of an adopted child to find his place in the family. This film is carried off with a realism and warmth that will bring tears. The Cockney accents are difficult -- flow with the film and you'll understand most of it anyway. The acting is superb. This should be the type of film that gets the Academy Award.
  • beans6611 May 2002
    It's refreshing to see these fine British actors, all at the top of the game, demonstrating their command of their craft. No overacting nor histrionics, just small gestures and expressions. Last Orders makes a poignant statement about how normal people with small lives survive tragedy and just--go on.

    It's a small film, but a moving one. Refreshingly, I didn't feel like I'd been thrown at at wall with someone screaming, "cry, damn it, cry."
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