A very impressive first feature,
This review is from: The Last Battle ( Le Dernier Combat ) [DVD] (DVD)
A very impressive first film, made on a tiny budget, this highly imaginative, sometimes darkly funny view of a post-apocalyptic world where no one
can speak is beautifully shot and designed, elements that would become hallmarks of Besson's style.
There isn't much of a plot, we just observe as several male characters struggle against the elements and each other to survive in the meager pickings
of remains of the civilized world. (For much of the film, we don't know if there are any women left at all). Sand has overtaken and filled office
buildings and water is in scarce supply. If the film were made today, one might guess global warning was the culprit of human decline, but like
much else, what happened in the past is allowed to remain a mystery. And how nice that Bresson has the courage not only to make a film without
words, but also without endless exposition.
For all the `action' implied by the title, this is no "Mad Max". While there are a few quite well done fights, much of the film is given over to slower,
smaller more human moments, most touchingly, when people try - against all odds - to connect and form bonds.
There are weaknesses. The film can feel thin, even drawn out at times, and the score can be downright awful. Why this beautiful, sad, macabre film
got an early 80s poppy disco-synth score is beyond me. I'm sure Besson had his reasons, but it's been a long time since a score so aggressively
took me out of a film. There are also some logic questions that start to become bothersome. E.g. It's one thing to postulate that for some reason no
one can speak, but since it's clear they can read and remember language (and want to speak) why does no one ever write a note? A small thing, but
when you leave so much open to question - generally a strength - you do run the risk of those questions becoming vexing.
All that said, I enjoyed the film a good deal, event if I was a bit disappointed, when all was said and done,that it didn't pack more of an emotional or
The transfer on the Optimum 'Luc Besson Collection' blu-ray is terrific, clean and rich, maximizing all the grey tones of Besson's stunning
black and white photography.