“The Last Boy” is described as science fiction, but personally I would call it fantasy – there is precious little science involved. Sira (Flynn Allen) is living in a caravan with his dying mother. She gives him instructions about a place he needs to travel to, and a map. There is a ‘wind’ that will kill, and Sira has a handheld scanner that can help him stay alive. On his journey he meets a young girl, Lily (Matilda Freeman) and others. There are several references to the works of the poet Rumi.

The actors are very good. The children (Allen and Freeman) do very well as youngsters on their own after some kind of apocalyptic event that has wiped out most of humanity. Sira has been coached relentlessly by his mother (who works ‘for the government’ but he doesn’t know what she did), to follow the map to ‘the place that grants wishes’. He single-mindedly follows his mother’s instructions, and Allen conveys the character as somewhat shut down, doggedly doing as he has been told even though he doesn’t know the meaning of what she has told him or what he can expect to find. As the central character, he successfully carries the film. Freeman does not have a lot to do with her role, but is successful as a scared little girl clutching at the only hope she has been given (the possibility she can wish her father back to life.)

Luke Goss and Jennifer Scott also star as respectively a soldier and a scientist, both of whom have lost everyone. Goss is especially good – his character is a person of faith who is grieving the loss of his wife. He is conflicted about his faith in the light of the film’s events. Goss shows that internal conflict very well. The scientist insists on a rational and measurable explanation for the events. Sira’s scanner indicates to her that if the ‘wind’ is measurable then it can be analysed and defeated. This is probably the only aspect of the film that is science fiction, but as her hopes of a rational explanation do not eventually come to much I am still comfortable labelling this as fantasy.

Peter Guiness has a small role as a ‘priest’, with a congregation (harem) of women he has promised to protect. His protection is contingent on the wind’s apparent dislike of water, but he makes out to the women that he has powers over the wind. Guiness is appropriately sleazy and ruthless in this role (though there is no real evidence shown that the character ever was a priest, as anyone can put on a clerical collar.)

The director Perry Bhandal has opted for a slow moving and almost contemplative atmosphere to the film. Unlike many post-apocalyptic stories the environment is untouched, as only people have been removed. There is perhaps a suggestion that the world is better off without people – if the director intended this he has not specified.

This film has aspects of other movies I have watched. I was especially reminded of ‘Stalker’, which contains a ‘place that grants wishes’, and ‘The Quiet Earth’ which involves the majority of the population disappearing after a mysterious event that might have been caused by technology. Consequently, I think that the movie is a little derivative in places.

 The incidental music is a big problem. I didn’t feel it fit the tone of the film at all and was often over loud and lush. It seemed that the slow-moving, almost contemplative mood of the film was not served by the intrusive score. I also couldn’t help but notice that for people travelling and sleeping rough, everyone looks surprisingly clean. That is a small gripe, however.

Finally, the climax. Without spoiling the details, the climactic sequence was something of a head scratcher as far as I was concerned. The character’s dead loved ones appear to them, and this had something to do with them wishing for these people to be returned to them. However, no one actually returns. There is a small hint that windows to other dimensions might be involved? In the end, another map is left for the remaining characters, telling them they now need to travel to Stonehenge, for reasons unknown. I am not averse to a film which ends on an ambiguous note, but I do object to stories that are obscure. I would put this film firmly into the latter category. There is simply not enough information provided to make a good assessment of what might be going on. That is disappointing, as the film has much to recommend it.

“The Last Boy” is not a bad film by any means. It is quiet, contemplative, and visually appealing. It contains none of the violence that might be expected from a film of this nature. In the end it is a shame that the story had no real resolution beyond vague hints about death and whether those who were gone had actually died. This prevents “The Last Boy” from being a better movie.

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