24 September 2005 | dliathain
last days -- the slow demise of an individual
Gus Van Sant does a remarkable job with this film - "Last Days." Nothing much happens, there is not a lot of dialogue but what we see, experience, is the slow demise of an individual into oblivion. We are observers, albeit at a distance. The urge maybe there to intervene; deliberately evoked by the structure of Van Sant's film. We want to say: 'You do not have to go on like this. We can help.' The structure is like a memory recalled. We keep going over it, adding bits as we do to try to make more sense, but never arriving at a definitive version. We especially hope that when the advertising salesman calls to the house and Blake lets him in,that he will engage with the man and forget his morose preoccupations. But the gulf between the two is unbridgeable. The nadir of the film is when Blake, left alone by his friends in the rehearsal room, starts to play on his guitar. His voice echoes his inner anguish, rising from a low to a high and then back to a low. He even manages to break a string on the guitar, but dexterously pulls the string while continuing the song. How could such music come out of such gloom? This is the paradox of creativity -- of trying to give form to ideas, not yet realized. We wait in anticipation, incapable of giving directions. Blake is constantly trying to evade the intrusion of others but cannot transcend his own self, of being in the world. The final intrusion finds him not there; he is dead.