JeffVice's Review of Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate

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Gus Van Sant really must love walking. His latest film, "Last Days," opens with a shot of a man wandering around in the woods, mumbling and muttering to himself. If that wasn't enough to convince you that Van Sant is self-indulgent — and walking-centric — remember that his 2002 film "Gerry" was little more than a series of extended scenes of two friends wandering around in the desert, and 2003's "Elephant" featured lengthy sequences of people wandering around halls of a high school. Unless you find filmed walking interesting, or unless you're in tune with Van Sant and his unique storytelling quirks, this drama — loosely based on the last days of the late Kurt Cobain — quickly becomes an interminable bore. Though the film claims not to be based on Cobain's life, for all intents and purposes the main character might as well be him. Blake (Michael Pitt) is a Seattle rock musician who's gone off the deep end. For days he's been roaming the surrounding forests, oblivious to pretty much everything and everyone. It's clear this is going to end badly, though his uninvited house guests don't really seem too concerned with his well-being. That's pretty much the film's plot. Van Sant shows a few scenes from differing viewpoints, though nothing appreciably different happens. That makes the film feel like it's stuck on a loop, a record that's skipping into the same groove, over and over. He also takes a shot at LDS missionaries with a scene that's not funny and only pads out a film that feels too long as it is. While Pitt does have Cobain's boyish look, he doesn't have the singer's charisma or natural magnetism. At no time does his character command our attention like Cobain did, and Pitt's thin, reedy singing voice also leaves much to be desired. Then again, this isn't Cobain, according to Van Sant. The only really watchable moments in this film come when Ricky Jay, as a private detective character, is onscreen. "Last Days" is rated R for frequent use of strong sexual profanity and crude sexual references (mostly slang), some brief male and female nudity, brief drug content (references), and some brief sexual contact (both gay and straight). Running time: 97 minutes. E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com
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Okfor ages12+