By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 23, 2012 at 7:40PM
The end of the world has been a popular film topic over the last 18 months. See: Lars von Trier's "Melancholia," Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter," Evan Glodell's "Bellflower" and David Mackenzie's soon-to-be-released "Perfect Sense." Watch the new official trailer below for Abel Ferrara's "4:44 Last Day on Earth," which debuted at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and stars Willem Dafoe, if your appetite for the apocalyptic hasn't yet been fully satisfied.
The film, which follows a Lower East Side artistic couple (Dafoe and Natasha Lyonne) resigned to the imminent doom of the earth, has received mixed reviews.
"If the world were ending tomorrow, you'd probably want to spend your final hours with better company than the central duo in "4:44 Last Day on Earth." A less nihilistic and far less interesting companion piece to Lars von Trier's recent "Melancholia," Abel Ferrara's latest cine-doodle likewise treats a worldwide cataclysm as an occasion for two individuals to exorcise their demons, here through acts of sexual, artistic and emotional release more perplexing than edifying to witness. Ferrara's underlying tenderness at times creeps into his raw, unruly filmmaking, but beyond his international following, this apocalyptic melodrama won't have especially deep impact."
The Hollywood Reporter:
"The eerie calm with which Ferrara's world greets its last hours may be absurdly unbelievable, but there's something entrancing about it as well, at least inasmuch as it concerns Cisco and Skye. In between reliving the occasional fond memory ("I was at that game!" Cisco says as he rewatches the 1967 Super Bowl on one of the many TVs and iPads the couple keep going), they continue to work on writing and art they clearly value, despite knowing it won't survive them. Believably, they also spend a good deal of time having sex."
"With a cryptic, meandering style, Ferrara presents his surprisingly understated apocalyptic vision as a therapeutic process. Likely his most personal work, it's also ironically the most life-affirming in a career defined by anger and grime. Ferrara has gone soft without selling out."