Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Michael Caine
Bob Hoskins
Tom Courtenay
David Hemmings
Helen Mirren.
Directors
Fred Schepisi.
Screenwriters
Fred Schepisi.
Running Time
110 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Watermark
3 Star Empire Rating
They Came Together
3 Star Empire Rating
Attila Marcel
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Last Orders
Like the book, this all-star ensemble brit-film captures the sense of a specific English, working-class generation.


submit to reddit


Plot
Ray, Vic, Larry and Vince drive to Margate to scatter the ashes of their friend, Jack, from the end of the pier. As the trip goes on, the men think back to the past and the things that bind them together - in particular Jack's wife, Amy.


Review
As ensemble casts go, it doesn't have the superstar pull of Ocean's 11 and it's not as young and sexy as American Pie. But Last Orders' gathering of old-school heavyweights is a cinematic event in itself. Hoskins and Mirren united beside the Thames for the first time since The Long Good Friday and Hoskins and Caine share screen time 15 years after Mona Lisa. This is the Brit Pack Mark I, and they're a joy to watch.

Rather than going for the gangster flash of the movies mentioned above, Last Orders allows its cast to shine as both individuals and as a unit. After all, that's what the story is about - the everyday tension between secret, inner desires and outward friendship and loyalty.

Graham Swift's Booker Prize-winning novel alternates chapters from several characters' viewpoints. This works on the page but wouldn't be practical on the screen. So, instead, writer-director Fred Schepisi opts for a complex story structure - within the two main strands (the men take Jack's ashes to Margate; Ray and Amy remember their brief affair), we're treated to flashback after flashback, some only a few seconds long.

Schepisi underlines how past events define the present - how these people are created by decisions taken or avoided earlier in their lives. This means the story jumps around from period to period simply because that's how memory works.

Like the book, the film captures the sense of a specific English, working-class generation - people in family businesses (butchers, undertakers, fruit 'n' veg stalls), people with solid names (Jack, Vic, Larry), people for whom a house in Margate is Shangri-La. This subject matter will chime with older audiences, but everyone should take the opportunity to catch some of Britain's finest performers gathered together in the same place at the same time.


Verdict
Ambitious in structure and casting, it packs a lot into its screen time. Quality craftsmanship for a discerning crowd.


Reviewed by Alan Morrison

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Movie Business Will Be Like 15th Century Florence
How Annapurna's Pictures' Megan Ellison is the bright white hope of film funding

Gillian Robespierre And Jenny Slate Talk Obvious Child
Director and star on their acclaimed rom-com

Video Interviews: The Stars And Directors Talk As Above, So Below
We talked to Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and company about their underground horror…

The Future Of Film: All Big Blockbusters Will Be Shot At 48 FPS
Our month-long series begins discussing the innovations that will shape cinema

Video Interviews: Chloe Grace Moretz And Jamie Blackley Talk If I Stay
The stars, director R.J. Cutler and co-star Joshua Leonard talk YA adaptations

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)