The politics of infidelity are examined in writer /director Massy Tadjedin’s stylishly produced, if not somewhat cool relationship drama ‘Last Night’.
Joanna (Keira Knightley) and her husband Michael (Sam Worthington) are a married couple of four years, they look great, they have really nice clothes and they live in one of the nicest, slickest, cleanest apartments I have ever seen in my entire life. That includes the ones I’ve seen in movies. Joanna is a struggling author, Michael is in commercial real-estate and on this particular day there is an office party to attend.
It’s a typical office full of people drinking, pretending to like each other while talking about absolutely nothing of importance when Joanna observes her husband speaking to this woman. They aren’t doing anything in particular, Michael and this woman, but it’s the way he is around her and particularly the way this woman is around her husband. This woman would be Michael’s associate Laura (Eva Mendes) and Joanna is immediately suspicious as our attractive married couple takes a tense cab ride back home.
Joanna is pissed. And if you’re a man and you’ve been in any kind of lengthy relationship with a woman, there’s not much more frustrating than a pissed off woman who won’t tell you why she’s pissed off. Eventually Joanna elaborates and we have to admit her concerns are valid ones. Michael apparently described Laura as ‘average’ or something along those lines in telling his wife about the new associate. That’s so not true. He also failed to mention that Laura went along on a recent business trip. Bad, bad boy. Michael thinks this is crazy talk from an unreasonable woman, but like a good man he apologizes for his imagined transgressions. Nothing is going on. Besides, there’s another business trip coming up and Laura’s going to be there for that one as well so this thing has to get smoothed out before morning. They eat some eggs, Michael lays down some sweet talk in the best way that actor Sam Worthington can lay down sweet talk, and it’s all good.
Michael goes on his trip and Joanna goes out to get coffee and runs into super smooth French author Alex (Guilliaume Canet). Or more accurately Alex was kind of stalking
Joanna, but that’s neither here nor there. Alex was a relationship Joanna had during one of her breakup periods with Michael during the dating stages, and they’ve stayed connected ever since. Alex would love for this connection to go much deeper, Joanna is a little shaky on what she wants, but she does plan, at least at the start of this day, to remain faithful to her husband. By the way, Michael has no idea that Alex exists.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia Michael is experiencing his own set of struggles with Laura. She’s laid it all on the table. The next move is his. What’s a man to do… I mean have you seen this woman?
There’s dinner, there’s drinks, there’s lot of private quiet time between these four people… will they or won’t they?
I’m a little conflicted with Ms. Tadjedin’s movie ‘Last Night’ because while it was wonderful to look at and had a lot of really sharp and insightful dialog, particularly from actor Griffin Dunne playing a friend of Alex the smooth Frenchman, there was something that was missing. That something would’ve been some much needed electricity between these really good looking people contemplating these sexual affairs with each other. Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington didn’t come off as a loving passionate couple, at least not to me, but then we can buy into that because if they were passionate with each other then I guess they wouldn’t be having these illicit thoughts running through their heads. Then you introduce Eva Mendes into the picture who you would think could generate sexual tension with a rock, but the characters of Michael and Laura? If the script didn’t tell me they were attracted to each other, I never would’ve known. Knightley and Canet fared better, but their characters appeared to have more of an intellectual connection to one another in the absence of a sexual one. Of course they say that women are cerebral when it comes to sex and men are visual and physical so maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Still, their relationship was a very cool one as opposed to a passionate one.
One more minor thing that bothered just a little was the youth of our main characters. Met in college, married four years, which would put them in their mid-twenties. And they’re already seriously contemplating screwing around? That marriage is doomed.
But the movie is crisp, Tadjedin’s direction is drum tight, Keira Knightley is wonderful in this, Canet is smooth, Mendes is beautiful and Sam Worthington looks great in a suit. I just needed to experience more sexual tension in this movie that is all about sexual tension.