4:44 Last Day on Earth

4:44 Last Day on Earth ★★★★

The saddest delivery boy on the saddest day in New York.

This has piqued my interest in returning to Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive - they're both fatalistic hangout movies set over one long, dark night of the soul. The difference lies with the male protagonists, whose corporeal and emotional states are reversed; one is a man who cannot die but longs to, whilst the other wishes to live but faces certain death.

This doesn't have the same woozy, nonchalant charm of Only Lovers, but the films place equal emphasis on normality and routine for characters whose entire way of life is dying. Dafoe and Leigh fuck, meditate, watch TV, Skype, create art, get takeout, talk. It's like any other night, but this one happens to be the last on Earth, and the use of slow dissolves imbue the film with an almost out-of-body remoteness, meaning that while it deals in heavy and somber subject matter it never feels heavy. Equally, the temporal fluidity created by the editing results in a slow rhythm which plays paradoxically fast for how effectively it condenses the end-of-days into a lucid and linear stream of everyday experience.

It's possibly the only film ever made to propose what the end of the world will actually look like, and it looks like whatever you did today, or will do tomorrow, or have planned for the next year, or will do for the rest of your life. So... yeah. Thanks Abel.