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The Last Supper

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Last Supper

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Ron Eldard
Director: Stacy Title
Rated: R
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: April 1996
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: Annabeth Gish, Jonathan Penner, Charles Durning, Bryn Erin, Nora Dunn, Mark Harmon, Bill Paxton, Ron Perlman



Review by Dragan Antulov
2½ stars out of 4

Western diplomats and intellectuals like to explain savagery of former Yugoslav conflicts with the poverty and ignorance of region's population. But the real insight into the origin and course of the wars would reveal that the most virulent chauvinism wasn't displayed by illiterate, impoverished and unrefined mountain people. Some of the worst atrocities were, directly or indirectly, committed by refined and prominent intellectuals, many of them enjoying reputation of enlightened liberals, humanists and progressives before the war. The author of this review had plenty of opportunity to witness such phenomenon, so the basic concept of THE LAST SUPPER, 1995 black comedy directed by Stacy Litle, isn't something unexpected.

The plot deals with five Iowa graduate students, people who share apartment, noble leftist ideals and the custom of inviting guests to Sunday dinners in order to have enlightened discussions of politics, culture and similar issues. One night invitation to the dinner is given to Zack (played by Bill Paxton), truck driver and Gulf War veteran who quickly reveals both extreme neo-Nazi views and violent temper. Resulting altercation ends with Zack being accidentally killed. Luke (played by Coutrney B. Vance), political science student and unofficial leader of the group, argues that it would be stupid to rot in jail for something that is actually a service to the world. So, instead of reporting the incident to police, five students bury slain neo-Nazi in the garden, and soon afterwards they come to the logical conclusion - if killing one dangerous right-winger was greater service to the world, than it should be repeated. So, students start inviting to dinner various people with problematic worldviews - homophobic priests, anti-enviromentalists, male chauvinists, bigoted librarians etc. - and serve them with poisoned drink.

In 1990s Hollywood films often treated right-wing segments of American society with such venom that this relatively obscure film serves as a nice antidote. Stacy Litle and her scriptwriter Dan Rosen don't go in the obvious, safe direction and show American right- wingers as nice people; they show that the bigotry, ignorance and idiocy is not their monopoly and that dangerous characters exist on the opposing side of political spectrum. THE LAST SUPPER clearly shows that the noble principles are of little use when people can't overcome their lack of common sense. In particularly nasty set of circumstances, even the most enlightened set of beliefs could serve as justification for the worst atrocities - teachings of Christ thus once led to Crusades and Inquisition; the dream of more social justice in the world later turned into nightmare of gulags, Cultural Revolution and Cambodian killing fields. Similar process is witnessed in this film, with Rosen and Litle being prepared to break many taboos of "political correctness" and having a black man as the most vicious among the "enlightened" fanatics.

That point, however, seems lost in the middle of the film, when the poisonings of right-wingers start to look somewhat repetitive. The subplot involving lawwoman (played by Nora Dunn) trying to locate missing movie wasn't particularly necessary. However, at the end THE LAST SUPPER acquits itself with an incredibly effective and intelligent ending that might not satisfy people of all political persuasions, but it would definitely make them think. And this is something we usually don't see in Hollywood these days.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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