10 August 2008 | Benedict_Cumberbatch
Daydream in Blue
Young writer-director Rodolphe Marconi introduces us to 18 year-old Simon (the extremely handsome and talented Gaspard Ulliel, "A Very Long Engagement"), who brings a girl he just met on a train, Louise (Mélanie Laurent), along with him to visit his parents and sister for a holiday in the country. As the mysterious Mathieu (Thibault Vinçon), Simon's unrequited love, reappears, Louise and Mathieu develop a liaison of their own, and we contemplate Simon's morbid sadness as dark secrets are uncovered.
"The Last Day" is a very personal, slow-paced, sensual and tragic story. It's very French in its aesthetics (which I love) and mood, and Marconi owes great part of his film's power to the amazing talent of Ulliel, who says more with a single look than most of today's young actors with a thousand words. In spite of his first bad move in Hollywood with "Hannibal Rising", I believe Ulliel is destined to become an international star (and if he doesn't, that's also fine, as long as he keeps picking daring roles in great films in his homeland). The soundtrack is also eclectic and memorable, and Marconi even reserves "the improvised, sudden musical scene" that's a trademark of some contemporary French directors, like François Ozon and Christophe Honoré. It could seem out of place and even ridiculous, but works beautifully here. Not a film for everybody, and ultimately depressing; but a memorable, poignant experience nonetheless. 9/10.