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Last Dance: Compassionate Drama About Human Life

Posted on the 07 March 2013 by Haricharanpudipeddi @pudiharicharan

Movie: Last Dance

Director: David Pullbrook

Cast: Julia Blake, Danielle Carter, Firass Dirani and Nicole Chamoun

Rating: ***1/2

If you watch this film and come to the conclusion that it was made to garner sympathy for Israel, then you’ve probably missed the beautiful and subtle underlying message hidden within. There are different standpoints from which this film can be viewed and the most evident of all is terrorism. However, it is not entirely a film about terrorism. A claustrophobic drama, “Last Dance” is tautly carried by its lead characters – Danielle and Firass, who make it a heart-wrenching watch with their performances.

In the suburbs of Australia, Sadiq, a wounded suicide bomber on the run, takes refuge at the residence of an elderly woman by taking her hostage. At the house, having tied the old lady to a chair, Sadiq frantically awaits to be rescued by his Jihadi brothers. Meanwhile, cops are constantly patrolling on the outside searching for Sadiq.

The pair, over the course of next two days, bond emotionally on common grounds and come to terms to help each other. Having overcome the fear of her captor, Mrs. Lippmann attends to the wound of Sadiq. From terrorism to religion to spirituality, the duo, discuss varied topics with conviction as their deep-rooted ideologies are confronted over a period of time. Eventually, what happens to Sadiq forms the rest of the story.

To see a simple yet powerful film made by a former editor-turned-director David Pullbrook is a rare sight and one can’t possibly deny it after watching the film. Through its narrative it explores some complex themes ranging from terrorism to holocaust to family and finally, the importance of life. We are reminded time and again that it’s extremely difficult to be a human being with ability to differentiate between right and wrong. In the film, right and wrong refers to the decisions taken by the characters, especially one that is taken by Mrs. Lippmann to save Sadiq. As a viewer, one mulls over the question whether is it important to save the life of a man who in turn has taken several lives.

Julia Blake, Australia’s theater veteran, as the old lady turns in a brilliant performance. Her transformation from a scared elderly woman to a caring mother is a treat to watch. She instills resilience and compassion in her character and portrays on screen with ease. Dirani’s character is testimonial to one of many terrorists who spend their lives in uncertainty. Cameo by Alan Hopgood goes down well with the narrative as he brings some humor as a nosy neighbor.  

David doesn’t push the envelope with direction and instead chooses to keep it simple with a flawless narration. Sporadically, one does the feel the slow pace of the film, but never does it make one boring in the process. Instances where Sadiq claims he is a soldier, only to realize later he is merely a terrorist, is such an eye opener in the context of the of film. It is small conversations such as these that pave way to an engaging viewing.

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