A Dystopian Thriller Filled With Desperation, Isolation, and Paranoia
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 57m
Director(s): Tanel Toom
Writer(s): Malachi Smyth
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Lucien Laviscount, Thomas Kretschmann, Martin McCann
Where To Watch: now available on VOD/Digital
RAVING REVIEW: LAST SENTINEL, a sci-fi thriller that showcases the impressive acting skills of Kate Bosworth and Lucien Laviscount, who portray soldiers at a remote military base on a war-torn future Earth. While nothing about the film was explicitly “bad,” I think the intentions behind it were more to send a message than focus on quality. It felt like pretty much every aspect of the film lacked a bit; from the directing, writing, acting, etc., no single piece could shine above the rest.
In a future devastated by war and the impacts of climate change, four battle-weary soldiers stand guard at an isolated oceanic military outpost called Sentinel. Their tour of duty should have ended three months ago, but no relief team has arrived, causing tension and mistrust among the group. As days pass, a boat emerges on the horizon, and the crew must decide if it’s bringing help or danger. While LAST SENTINEL begins with an intriguing premise, the plot turns into a basic whodunit with a limited suspect pool.
LAST SENTINEL transports viewers to a world shaped by humanity's destructive tendencies and insatiable hunger for conflict. At times this feels like a story we’ve seen before, ala WATERWORLD, but credit where credit is due, the film's narrative helped keep me engaged throughout. There were a few twists and turns that surprised me, and for as much as people were calling this a “B movie,” I thought the effects were decent, not Marvel level but solid enough. The script crafts a universe filled with desperation, isolation, and paranoia.
The cast features Kate Bosworth as the harsh Corporal Cassidy, Thomas Kretschmann as the dedicated Sergeant Hendrichs, Lucien Laviscount as Sullivan, who throws a kink into everything, and Martin McCann as the skilled yet unpredictable engineer Baines—a pretty solid ensemble cast; maybe not Oscar-worthy, but still a reliable overall cast performance. Complex character relationships add depth to the plot. Cassidy clings to family memories, Baines becomes increasingly discontent with his duties, and Hendrichs tries to maintain control and authority.
However, LAST SENTINEL's dramatic impact could be more substantial, with scenes of defiance and conflict not quite reaching their potential. I would have liked to have the film edited by about 20-30 minutes to give a more concise narrative instead of dragging some things out.
This dystopian thriller presents a unique vision of a grim future and the repercussions of humanity's relentless pursuit of war and destruction. As the soldiers confront the uncertainty of their fate and the constant threat of danger, the film keeps viewers guessing until the end.
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[photo courtesy of YET ANOTHER DISTRIBUTION COMPANY/101 FILMS]