The Last Great Wilderness
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
the last great wilderness David Mackenzie's inventive Scottish thriller keeps us on our toes with its intelligent blending of horror, comedy and internal drama. Charlie (Alastair Mackenzie) is driving to Skye on a quest for revenge against his ex-wife and her pop-star boyfriend when he offers to give a lift to the quirky Vincente (Phillips), who it turns out is running from thugs who want to do more than just kill him. But the road runs out and Charlie and Vince are stranded at a strange hotel on the edge of nowhere, populated by a freaky cult-like community seeking inner peace and healing. There's also a ghost walking the hallways, and everyone seems just a bit too murderously nuts.

Yes, remote Scottish weirdness is the name of the game here, and it's thoroughly good fun, even when it gets very scary indeed. There's a grainy grey-back tone to the digital video imagery that makes it feel even more creepy, and Mackenzie uses clever direction to keep us on the brink. He also keeps the humour flowing--natural real life comedy combined with moments of inspired absurdity that frame the scary and serious moments. And yes, there are serious moments, as well as a real sense of catharsis and emotion at the end (which is a bit corny, but never mind). The cast is excellent, performing Dogme-style with a raw authenticity that makes even the goofiest characters come to life. We've got the shady innkeeper (Hayman), the gun-toting groundsman (Stewart), the paranoid blonde (Smurfit), the raging nympho (Irwin), the sex-obsessed ex-priest (Comerford), the agoraphobe (Kiernan) and so on--definite types, but all have surprises in store. This is ingenious filmmaking with an especially strong script and a real attempt to make something interesting out of the rural thriller genre.

cert 18 themes, language, violence, sex, nudity 16.Apr.03

dir David Mackenzie
scr Michael Tait, Alastair Mackenzie, Gillian Berrie, David Mackenzie
with Alastair Mackenzie, Jonny Phillips, Ewan Stewart, David Hayman, Victoria Smurfit, Louise Irwin, Jane Stenson, John Comerford, Ford Kiernan, Sheila Donald, Martin Bell, Jack Marsden
release UK 9.May.03
FFC
02/UK 1h32

Stranded travellers. Vincente and Charlie (Phillips and Mackenzie) are rather freaked out by the goings on at Moor Lodge...

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R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... the last great wilderness Zikoria, Gothenburg: 4 out of 5 stars "I really like this movie to start off. I saw it in Febuary at the Gothenburg Movie Festival. It's a very dark story about how deceit, pain and friendship can change one's life. It is an amusing movie that also hurts to watch. It's really intense. The movie also contains one of my favorite songs ever, 'I picked a rose in another man's garden', a song that in the movie is written by the singer who stole one of the main character's wife ... sad as hell! But a wonderful, strange story. You never know what to expect!" (3.Nov.03)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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