Review Fix’s 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Coverage: ‘Last Night’ Review

Director Massy Tadjedin’s “Last Night,” starring Academy Award nominee Keira Knightly as the lovely Joanna, is a tantalizing film that confronts a lingering fear most couples have. Happily married Joanna and Michael Reed (Sam Worthington), find themselves in the clutches of temptation as they sink beneath a mess of lies and secrets. The film is a fine example that nothing is sacred; not even marriage.

A sophisticated young couple enduring seven years of matrimony, call the bustling streets of Manhattan home. It appears the Reeds have it all with a spacious apartment, fancy outfits and successful careers. Husband Michael is a commercial real estate developer, who often attends business trips while Joanna works from home as a freelancer.

The Reeds are the epitome of perfection or so it seems.

After attending a company party, questions are raised regarding Michael’s loyalty. Joanna noticed a few rather friendly exchanges were made between her husband and a striking co-worker, Laura (Eva Mendes), whom Michael has failed to bring up before. Following a fit of doubt and jealousy from his wife, Michael leaves on yet another business trip to Philadelphia with Laura.

Putting her suspicions to rest, Joanna encounters her ex-lover Alex (Guillaume Canet), who she never mentioned to Michael before, outside a coffee shop. Is it fate or just a coincidence that on the day Michael leaves town, Joanna’s old beau resurfaces? Left to face her own temptation, Joanna parades around the city with Alex, attending a dinner party, a romantic roof top view and his hotel room before he leaves for Paris in the morning.

As Joanna flirts with her alluring past, Michael is playing with fire in Philly when things get a little too hot for him to handle.

The cast did an excellent job at portraying their characters.

The chemistry between Knightly and Canet is fresh and exhilarating, illustrating the sweetest forbidden love affair since Rick Blaine (Humprey Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca.” Repressing her love for Alex, Knightly’s strong emotions for both men are clear with her breathtaking performance. Who can resist the charming Canet with his dashing looks. Turns out underneath the bad boy persona is a vulnerable Alex, who wants a second chance with the one who got away.

The constant conflict of remaining faithful or giving into his desire is written all over Worthington’s face. He conveys the torment of the situation with his compelling performance. It’s no surprise that Mendes would play the role of the other woman in a married man’s life. Although she does the part justice as the seductive mistress, it’s been seen before.

With an intense tone and a relateable premise, “Last Night” shows how much can be left unsaid between couples. Putting a marriage to the test, it’s surprising to see who falls victim to their partner’s lack of self-control. One night can make all the difference.

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Maria Bonello

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