We don't see much in the way of indie genre movies coming out of Copenhagen these days so I was pleased when a copy of writer/director David Bourke's 'Last Exit' arrived here at SGM Towers. First curious thing I noticed though once I started watching is that the majority of the films spoken dialogue is in English, strange for a film that originates from Denmark…but as ever I digress, let's look at the film (well that's what we're here for eh?!)
As the film opens we meet Nigel, an unemployed debt ridden loser who not only has the misfortune to be in a repetitive cycle of boredom keeping himself entertained masturbating to porn videos but is married to a lifeless junkie in a relationship that is going nowhere. A chance meeting in a pub gives Nigel the opportunity to do some easy cash in hand work (storing boxes for a gang lord who has a penchant for gouging folks eyes out) but as you can imagine (as always is the case in these scenarios) things are soon going to go horribly wrong. And soon it does for poor Nigel as not only does his drug hungry wife lose her job and submerge herself in her addiction but also his new crime bosses requests become increasingly more dangerous and demanding. Things aren't all bad for the guy as through his new employer he meets a beautiful prostitute called Tanya. After an initially bewildering introduction to Tanya where she asks him "would you like to go to bed with me?" and he crazily tries not to submit (well hey any bloke with a pulse would leap at the opportunity!) Anyhow, Nigel soon sees sense and falls for the lovely Tanya and in the midst of all the gloom in his life he soon has a small chink of light with his growing relationship with new love Tanya. But again as is tradition in such genre fare, things soon go from bad to worse spiraling Nigel's into a bloody oblivion of which there is no return…and boy what an entertainingly crazy finale!
Whilst perhaps slightly overlong (this would made an excellent short rather than just a solid full length feature), 'Last Exit' is a thoroughly enjoyable seedy Euro thriller. Whilst initially it could have taken a full on gloomy art house feel the film manages to avoid any art house pretensions. Writer/director Bourke impresses throughout with both a solid gripping script and some nice colourfully shot visuals (which show to great effect during some of the gorier moments). The cast throughout also are likewise solid in their performances (though it was bizarre for myself personally to hear a Scots accent appear at one point) with both the main two leads excelling with great performances. Morten Vogelius captures Nigel's despair perfectly whilst the very beautiful Gry Bay almost steals the show with a convincing and well-executed delivery in her role as Tanya. Another excellent piece of the jigsaw here is the impressive indie soundtrack that suits the onscreen action to a tea, I really enjoyed this soundtrack a lot and hope that at some point when this very worthy film gets fully 'discovered' a soundtrack will be made available.
And it is 'Last Exit's break into the public and industry eye that is perhaps a frustrating element for the film producers. I mentioned at the start of this review about my curiosity as to why the spoken dialogue is mostly in English but perhaps it is the producers foresight of the backwards attitudes towards subtitled movies that helped make the decision to go this route. Then again I'm probably completely wrong and English is the main spoken language in Copenhagen ?! The crunch though is that 'Last Exit' deserves every bit as much (if not more so) to get recognition across the film market along with the often lesser American and British product. So, any of our industry friends reading may just want to take a look at this very fine production.
The presentation on this promotional DVD is solid all round with a nice clean image obviously taken from the print master and the audio is clear throughout and the aforementioned excellent soundtrack sounds vibrant also. The only extra feature on the disc is a nice teaser promotional trailer (sans grooving sleazy theme tune).
Whilst it's not a groundbreaking film, 'Last Exit' is a thoroughly enjoyable downbeat black thriller that deserves attention - hopefully we wont have to wait too long before it gets picked up for a full release (well I'd rather see this play in art house cinemas over the usual fare screening there). David Bourke has laid out his visual CV for all to enjoy and should rightly be proud of what he has delivered. If you get the chance, check this one out!
For more information on the work of David Bourke visit the Last Exit Productions site by clicking here .
Review by Alan Simpson