The Last Late Night
Engaged couple Kate (Christine Steel) and Dave (Aaron Waiton) are trying to leave their chemical-ridden past behind them and become real adults, but Paul (Graham Galloway), who is Dave's best friend and Kate's ex-boyfriend, has other plans. He shows up uninvited at their housewarming party with pot, pills, and cocaine. Although the first 20 minutes suggest that this film, which won awards at the Rhode Island Film Festival, is just another drug movie, the party guests' arrival heralds all sorts of fascinating interactions. In a Brechtian fashion, writer/director Scott Barlow treats his characters like members of a psychology experiment, mixing an odd group of people together with drugs and alcohol and waiting to see what happens. A computer geek who tracks Bigfoot sightings, a giggly woman who adores Martha Stewart, and an alcoholic boss and his exotic-dancer wife each add to the already-complex network of relationships between Kate, Dave, and Paul. Barlow manages to escape the pitfall of stereotype, and his actors often seem to be improvising brilliantly, reacting to one another with spontaneity and originality. Galloway, in particular, gives an astounding performance both when his character is being facetious and goading others to drink, smoke, or sniff and when he is unexpectedly genuine. The ambiguity of the ending feels like a cop-out, but there are moments of genius that make the film satisfying nonetheless. At the Charles Theatre April 12.