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Last Resort

By Jaimie Baron | Posted

Tanya (Dina Korzun), a beautiful Russian divorceé who "always has to be in love," brings her young son (Artiyom Strelnikov) on a one-way trip to England, where she expects to be met at the airport by her British fiancé Mark. When he doesn't appear, she impulsively tells the customs officer that she and her son are political refugees, intending to use this excuse to buy time to find Mark. Instead, mother and son find themselves entangled in bureaucratic limbo and confined to a bleak government refugee camp outside of London where they, along with a large number of mostly Arab men, are kept under video surveillance. Tanya is solicited by a predatory Internet-porn director (played brilliantly by Lindsey Honey) but is rescued by a kind, handsome young ex-con (Paddy Considine). The ensuing romance dribbles into saccharin sweetness, but the powerful acting by all three leads, their complex relationships, and the odd locations--a bingo hall, an arcade--keep the film from becoming too much of a fairy tale. But while writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski touches on violence, exploitation, and the plight of the camp's nonbeautiful, nonwhite inhabitants, it is difficult to discern what the last resort is for the true political refugees. Last Resort requires certain suspensions of disbelief, but its raw, documentary-style shooting, desolate landscape, and impressionist moments rescue the plot from potential frivolity.

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