Last Days

Last Days (2005)
HBO Home Video
Cast: Michael Pitt, Lukas Haas, Asia Argento, Scott Green, Nicole Vicius
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scene, Music Video

In this story of Kurt Cobain, ahem, I mean a drugged out and depressed musician by the name of Blake (Michael Pitt) trying to, well I'm not sure just what exactly he is trying to do, as Gus Van Sant brings us this warped take on the supposed "Last Days" of a grunge rocker. Having a disclaimer before the final credits basically stating that this film is only inspired by the last days of Kurt Cobain, but is actually a "work of fiction", as characters and events portrayed in this film are totally made up.

Set in upstate New York, as opposed to Seattle, this slow and uneventful film, shot rather unconventionally, follows Blake in and around his run-down castle of a home, mumbling incoherently, as he stumbles from scene to scene, leading to the inevitable suicide ending.

I really don't know what more to say here, I mean Gus Van Sant brings us one of the worst films that I have personally seen to date! His style is so lacking with this film that I am trying so hard to fight the urge not to write about bashing his vision completely. His one method of filming a particular scene from completely different perspectives, then editing it into the film at a latter point in the story is interesting; he also used this in his film "Elephant" and it worked rather well. The bottom line is that "Last Days" is a mess of a film with little to no substance whatsoever. You would probably be hard pressed to even find a fan of the late Kurt Cobain that would even give this film the time of day.

Warner Home Video presents "Last Days" in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen format, which surprisingly touts the 1.33:1 presentation, also available on the DVD, as the films original aspect ratio. Color saturation is good, displaying naturally appearing flesh tones throughout; with nice highlights seen from the lush green forest that surrounds the dilapidated castle-like setting of Blake's home. The slightly soft image displays a nice and rich black level and the transfer is free and clear of any dust or dirt particles, which helps to provide an overall pleasant presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is mixed too off balance for my liking, from the low vocal levels to the quiet outdoor sounds that are suddenly injected by blaring drums and musical instruments that cause the sound to appear a bit distorted, the sound mix came off as uninspiring as the overall film itself.

For special features, this DVD comes with one longer deleted scene, a documentary simply titled "The Making of Gus Van Sant's Last Days", the featurette "On the Set of Gus Van Sant's Last Days: The Long Dolly Shot" and an exclusive music video "Happy Song" performed by Pagoda.

Completely disappointing, even after having absolutely no expectations before seeing "Last Days", this truly is one of the poorer offerings from a usually notable director.