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These Final Hours (Zak Hilditch, 2013) wr. Zak Hilditch, prod. Liz Kearney, dp Bonnie Elliot; Jessica De Gouw, Nathan Phillips, Sarah Snook, Daniel Henshall, Lynette Curran; apocalyptic thriller; WA; premiere MIFF 2 August 2013
Viewers who saw Hilditch’s award-winning short film Transmission – a pitch project made to develop and sell the concept for this feature – will know he’s a visual storyteller able to layer small details in a way that creates an entirely believable anarchic world – the uncollected garbage bags on nature strips; the glimpsed bodies rotting in the sun beside crashed cars; the eerily silent homes and swimming pools; and the lone radio broadcaster keeping company with the doomed. The Perth location, with its wide streets, soulless McMansions and vibrating heat is an essential part of the film’s originality – and its potential power for an Australian audience. Captured with sunburnt intensity by cinematographer Bonnie Elliott, you can almost feel the air heating up and the earth dying around you. Rochelle Siemienowicz, SBS Movies.
Hilditch does a spectacular job with limited funds, both in terms of the production values generally, and in managing the difficult, large scale 'end of the world' party sequences. It's an attention grabbing debut. Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile.
Cinematographer Bonnie Elliott creates a sweaty sun-kissed look and editor Nick Meyers a sense of itch-inducing immediacy. The film comes on like rash, with a visceral bleakness that is rare and confronting outside the context of genre horror. And if These Final Hours slips a little in a plot sense, it’s because Hilditch’s focus ultimately lies elsewhere – in creating an experiential, brooding, disgustingly plausible hypothetical universe. By these criteria, These Final Hours is an awesome success. Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian.
These Final Hours is by no means perfect, but it won’t be forgotten in a hurry. We need more Australian films like this. Right now. Leigh Paatsch, The Herald-Sun.
Garry Gillard | New: 24 July, 2014 | Now: 9 March, 2021