By William Wolf

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2011--4:44: LAST DAY ON EARTH  Send This Review to a Friend

The way in which the end of the world is faced by New Yorkers in writer-director Abel Ferrara’s “4:44: Last Day On Earth” is much different from the serene manner in which the protagonists face the world’s demise in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia.” New Yorkers are not going quietly into the night. It may be one big farewell blast, saying goodbye to loved ones or maybe just sitting around drinking with friends. At least that’s what Ferrara depicts as the failure to heed warnings about global warming is about to take its toll by 4:44 a.m.

The main couple, Cisco and Skye, are played by Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh. While Skye pursues her abstract painting in their apartment, Cisco is bent on tying up loose ends from his previous marriage. With a computer at the ready, Skype comes in handy for face-to-face talks. Skye talks to her mother. Cisco calls his daughter to tell her he loves her, but his ex gets on the phone and hell to pay follows.

Skye overhears Cisco telling his ex that he loves her and explodes at what she sees as betrayal. She unloads her fury on him, and yet there is also the need for closeness as the end nears, and of course, with so little time left, farewell sex. Meanwhile, there is revelry in the city which takes on a kind of New Year’s Eve atmosphere.

Unfortunately, neither Cisco nor Skye is especially interesting, and the fighting between them is a bore. There is no reason to worry about their disappearing. New York is another matter. But insofar as the boring people in this film go, welcome to doomsday. An IFC Films release.


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