Susan Granger’s review of “Last Night” (Tribeca Films)
This soul-searching marital drama is all about distrust, suspicion and sexual temptation. Living the good life in Manhattan, Joanna (Keira Knightley from “Pride and Prejudice”) and Michael (Sam Worthington from “Avatar”) find their marriage in jeopardy when they ‘cheat’ – but, then again, what is cheating? Is it emotional infidelity or physical infidelity? What is forgivable – and what isn’t?
Joanna resents Michael’s obvious flirting with Laura (Eva Mendes), a seductive new colleague in commercial real estate development who is accompanying him on a business trip to Philadelphia. After a late-night spat, Michael assures Joanna that nothing’s wrong, and she wants to believe him. In the meantime on the street, she unexpectedly bumps into an old lover Alex (Guillaume Canet, who looks remarkably like Patrick Dempsey) while Michael is conveniently out-of-town and agrees to have drinks and then dinner with him and his friends. Joanna hasn’t seen Alex in several years but she’s obviously still attracted to the handsome Frenchman, even though she learns he’s now involved with another woman, Helen, in Paris.
Superficially written and directed by Tehran-born Massy Tadjedin, who wrote John Maybury’s “The Jacket,” it’s utterly contrived and never compelling. Neither Joanna’s nor Michael’s naturalistic characters is particularly appealing, aside from being ‘beautiful people.’ They don’t seem to have a firm friendship or a lot in common, other than being college sweethearts and the years they’ve spent with one another. Who cares if they commit adultery? Besides, as one character says, “People don’t change after they get married.” And casting alluring Eva Mendes as the temptress is all too obvious. So the relationship-based story inevitably flatlines and dies.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Last Night” is a tedious 3. It’s a two-hour crisis of conscience, presenting a myriad of choices – the best of which is to wait and see this on dvd, if at all.