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The Last Great Wilderness (18)



Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer; Photo gallery; Other trailers.

THIS film is like a Scottish Twin Peaks, in that it looks like director, David Mackenzie, has been given some money, gone into the wilderness, pressed the record button and allowed the characters to experiment and write the film themselves.

Charlie (Alastair Mackenzie) is driving to Skye to burn down the house of the pop star who stole his wife.

At a petrol station he meets Vincente (Jonny Phillips), who is running from some hitmen for sleeping with another man's wife.

The pair set off on their journey but break down and wind up at an old remote Scottish Inn.

Here, they are introduced to the eccentric inhabitants who live at the inn, each of whom has a story to tell of how and why they are there.

Some of these experiences mirror each other and we discover that the inn is more rehab than retreat.

Although always aware that Vincente is in a lot of trouble, we are lulled into a false sense of security by the isolation of the inn.

However, Vincente keeps seeing the apparition of a beautiful woman, signalling that perhaps all is not well, and although he develops a calmness, as if resigned to his fate, nothing prepares us for his demise.

The Last Great Wilderness starts as a road movie, with one man avenging and the other being avenged, and although funny and quirky gets progressively dark.

Vincentes death does not sit comfortably with the rest of the film and not just because it is gruesome. When so much of the film is understated, it comes as a jolt to be suddenly spoon-fed violence, and the result looks like a scene from a completely different movie.

Even so, the performances are uniformly excellent and the movie is beautifully cast.

Alastair Mackenzie (best known for the television series, Monarch of the Glenn) is very watchable, and the superb Jonny Phillips makes the dubious Vincente really likable.

On the whole, first-time director, Mackenzie has produced an enjoyable and thought-provoking film, but I came away with the feeling that the next film he makes will be the one not to be missed.

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