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Last Orders

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Last Orders

Starring: Michael Caine, Helen Mirren
Director: Fred Schepisi
Rated: R
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, David Hemmings, George Innes, Tom Courtenay

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
3½ stars out of 4

Fred Schepisi's delightfully sweet and dryly funny LAST ORDERS features a cornucopia of great, older English actors, including Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Ray Winstone. Just watching them work is well worth the price of admission, but the script, based on Graham Swift's novel, is a real treat as well. For almost two mesmerizing hours, we get to know the characters' lives, loves and friends as they reminisce aloud and as younger actors play them in flashbacks. We come to love each and everyone of them so much that the arrival of the ending credits is the film's only disappointment.

The purposely ambiguous title refers both to the last orders of the deceased named Jack (Caine) and to the calling for the last round of drinks at the pub where the guys hang out. The story, which fluidly and clearly moves back and forth in time, begins just after Jack, a second-generation butcher, has been cremated. The guys are gathering at the pub with "Jack in a box," as his friend Lenny (Hemmings) refers to the ashes. The mission that day is to make an ashes scattering pilgrimage to Margate, a seaside resort town where Jack and Amy (Mirren) had their honeymoon. Jack's son, Vince (Ray Winstone), a car salesman, drives them. Also along for the ride is Jack's friend Vic (Tom Courtenay), an undertaker who delivers the funniest line. "My old dad," Vic tells them, "used to say, 'You don't dilly-dally with the deceased.'" Their dalliance en route to Margate, however, is precisely what makes the movie so captivating. Along the way, many memories are shared as well as a few secrets. All are touching.

LAST ORDERS runs 1:39. It is rated R for "sexuality and some language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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