The best thing I could say about These Final Hours is that it feels real, and sets up a world and scenarios that seem plausible were a situation like this to take place. Nathan Phillips portrays James, a flawed man who, on the way to an end of the world party, saves a young girl, and finds himself on a path to redemption as he goes on a journey to reunite her with her father.
The world will end in 12 hours, at least the part of the word that this film takes place in (Australia). All of this is inevitable, in fact, a majority of the world has already been destroyed and burned to bits. So, instead of staying with his girlfriend and relishing his final moments with her, James journeys to an end of the world party, to his mistress, so, in his words, he doesn’t feel anything.
On this journey, he saves a young girl from savages who were ready to kill her, and that starts his path to redemption. What is interesting in this film is that saving this girl doesn’t turn James into a good guy. We are still introduced to his flaws and his selfishness. James makes a lot of mistakes, and makes some decisions regarding this child that seem ludicrous, simply so he could try to spend his final hours enjoying himself.
One of the major strengths of this film is that we don’t get a lot of story regarding James’ back story, but, through interactions with different people and through different scenarios, we get just enough to learn to sympathize with this man. He does deserve our sympathy, and when he does something that we don’t agree with, we might find ourselves yelling at the screen trying to sneak our words through the screen and into his head. In the end, James is presented as a flawed but redeemable human being, and Nathan Phillips does a fantastic flaw of playing such a complex character.
Even though I could go on and on about the strengths of this film, it isn’t without its shortcomings, one of which might be its slow building plot. This is a film where the protagonists are against the clock, but some moments seem to move slower than we would like and the film moves slower than maybe some of us would like, but the slow burn does work to the films advantages as we are introduced to Phillips’ little by little and by the end, the story is moving faster and faster, and the audience isn’t even sure when the film picked up like this, which works perfectly.
This may not seem like a flaw or a strength, but certain situations make the audience feel uncomfortable, which is the effect that the director, Zak Hilditch, was most likely going for. Especially certain events that took place at the party scene. These scenes did work to the effect that were intended, but they made the audience squirm in their seats.
This film was raw, gritty, real, and absolutely fantastic. It felt like a bit of a slow burn, and not everybody may enjoy a film like this, but it is one of the best films I saw in 2014. Trust me when I say this, but there has never been a film quite like These Final Hours. We get a glimpse into a world and situation, and get a firsthand experience of what the world might turn into if it were ending. Not only that, but there was a time limit set on their mortality, and let’s just hope we aren’t put in that situations, because honestly, we don’t know what type of people we might turn into if this scenario ever came to life.