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Monday, March 12, 2012

4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH

A NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

This film is creepy and strange, handling the annihilation of the world in a totally different manner than most end-of-the-world films. There are definitely mixed feelings on the part of the viewer as the film progresses and draws to its inevitable conclusion.

Set on the lower east side, Cisco (Willem Dafoe) and Skye (Shanyn Leigh) prepare for their last day on earth, their last moments alive, together.

Initially, in their very techie lower east-side loft, they Skype friends and family, even allowing the Asian delivery boy to speak with his family overseas.

Throughout, there seems to be a disbelief among characters that the end of the world is really coming - perhaps because mankind has been talking about it for so long.

Shown at the 2011 New York Film Festival, director Abie Ferrara did a lot with a low budget, but in interviews said he shot for realism, not to save money.

While shooting on the lower East Side is probably less expensive, the gentrification of the Bowery and its absorption into a variety of universities, created a multitude of problems.

The NYFF had several end-of-the-world films but this one is definitely more low-key and less hysterical than the others.

Every viewer from the audience walks out having to assess a multitude of feelings. In other words, this isn't pure entertainment. It causes the viewer to think.