Life in Last Hour (1999)
Reviewed by: morgold on 1999-11-24
In the past few years, HK movies have become divided against themselves. Now, there are the A-list movies, and then there is everything else. "Life in Last Hour" would be part of the 'everything else.'

I doubt my enjoyment of this film would have been greater had I already been familiar with the autobiography of its disc-jockey lead, who more or less plays himself in the film, trying to work his way through a broken marriage while counseling two suicidal callers on his radio show who are also suffering from loves lost. This 'call-in' plot creates an episodic structure, as the film relates in flashback the tribulations of 1) a loser who steals from his boss to both impress and then torture his unfaithful girlfriend; and 2) a teenage girl planning on committing love-suicide to spite her callous boyfriend. The second sequence at least has a little humor, as the teenager's platonic boyfriend nonchalantly grills hot-dogs over the fire whose smoke will presumably cause their immanent suffocation. Up until this point, I was willing to spot the film some points for being sweet, if utterly boring, and really better suited to being a television show.

In the last segment, however, we get back to the DJ's own maudlin story, which features car crashes that pretend to be far more exciting than they actually are, parents in operating theaters, doctor's bills, little children running to the rescue in taxicabs, and a pathetic last-ditch effort to offer some voice-over pseudophilosophy to tie up everything together. It is impossible to hate a film as good-natured and inconsequential as this is, so it almost makes me feel guilty to remind this sweet film how utterly horrible it really is. Almost.

I understand this is a "little film", but that doesn't mean it has to be this bad. You don't need a lot of money to make a good film--all you need is a good script, a commodity in increasingly short supply in HK.

However, the filmmakers may be encouraged to know that, failing a successful DVD release, they can always market their product as a sleeping aid: when the lights in the theater came on after the final credit-roll, the theater manager had to physically rouse the few remaining patrons from the peaceful slumber the film had induced.