The Last Minute

The Last Minute

directed by Stephen Norrington

starring Max Beesley, Emily Corrie, Kate Ashfield, Jason Isaacs

Palm Pictures

Billy Byrne is the “Next Big Thing”, and we get to watch as the entertainment industry embraces him and hypes him into a worldwide celebrity. We get to see the flash and glitz, the sex and violence, the shock and the awe. And all of this is in the first thirty minutes of the movie. And all of this is before his art is revealed to the public. From there the ride just gets wilder, from black dogs, to gangs of Dickensian thieves, to monsters in backpacks in The Last Minute.

We never find out what it is that Billy does. Is he a singer? Actor? Director? Model? Painter? But we really don’t need to know, as the underlying theme of hype and art are universal no matter the medium. Billy introduces the movie by notifying you of the number of minutes you have in your life, and how precious few you may have left to do something, anything, regardless of what others may think of it. This remains a theme as we spend precious minutes watching Billy’s story.

Stephen Norrington made this personal film between Blade and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. You can still see his visual fingerprints on it, if you were a fan of Blade. The editing is hectic but effective, unlike a lot of the uber-cool MTV-graduate directors these days. Norrington also wrote The Last Minute, making it even more personal than his previous work. His cast is impressive, with Max Beesley drawing you in as the personable Billy Byrne, Emily Corrie and Kate Ashfield as the women in his life, and an ensemble of England’s finest crop of up-and-coming actors making this unreal world believable. Even Blade alums Udo Kier and Steven Dorff show up for memorable cameos.

The DVD is full of extras, from cast and crew bios, to behind-the-scenes features, to hidden interviews, and even more. But there weren’t any subtitles on my disc. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the commentary by Norrington completely, but it seems like it lets the audience in on the autobiographical aspects of Billy’s journey. Perhaps, when Blade became a success, he heard a lot of the same hype from people in Hollywood. Hopefully, this film will help him keep perspective when dealing with stars and producers who want to interfere with his vision in the future. I am sure he was thinking of Billy Byrne when the first weekend numbers came in for LXG! and so many were writing his future off.

While it drags a little in the middle, The Last Minute is an interesting, out there, personal film from a storyteller with something to say. It is definitely the type of film that works better as a DVD. You get so much more of the story than just the film itself with this DVD. Rent it, if for nothing else, than for the violent song and dance number by Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) in an underground S&M club. And remember, the clock is ticking.

The Last Minute:

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