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Film Reviews "The Last Blast" is a road film and a story of a journey Film News And Views - Film Reviews - "The Last Blast" is a road film and a story of a journey Film Reviews,,"The Last Blast" is a road film and a story of a journey,recommendation,shopping,advice,simple,movies,films,film news and views,news and views,film industy,movie reviews,film news,film,news,views,television,made for tv movies,interactive entertainment,hollywood,hollywood news,celebrity news,insiders perspective,film reviewer,watch film,film trailer,new releases,new release,new release movie,new release film,movie reviewer,opinion,viewpoint,forum,discussion
"The Last Blast" is a road film and a story of a journey

by Erik Sean McGiven on May 01, 2008

"The Last Blast" is a road film, a journey where the Spirit of the Sixties battles the fight for today. It's a trip back in time when the open road meant freedom and the words peace and love had real meanings.  

<>What a pleasure it is to discover a movie that compares the spirit of the sixties with the chaos the world is facing today.  This is not a debate but a journey of one troubled soul trying to make sense of the world she lives in and her finding answers that date back some forty years.   <> 

"The Last Blast" begins at a punk rock club in Bern, Switzerland where Helenka (played by newcomer Mimie LaGrande) contemplates her nightmarish life.  A young rambunctious Swiss punk girl with a destructive edge, she spoils the local Nazi's festivities with a mixture of lighted petrol and rotten meat.  Her drug dealing stepfather hates her and her mother, a hopeless junkie, overdoses.  Then she discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her.  Alone and depressed, she seeks the only refuge left in her life, Eddie, her estranged father living in Arizona.   <> 

Eddie (Rab Reilly - "American Cousins") was planning a crazy motorbike trip to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada so when Helenka arrives unexpectedly he asks her to come along.  It was a trip he had long planned to take with her mother.  From Tucson they cross the scorching deserts into California and north to Nevada.  Slowly Helenka and her father get reacquainted but soon realize how different they are.  Helenka has been raised on a diet of hardcore punk, the toughest of realities and an attitude to boot.  Eddie is an easy-going hog-riding hippie and riding his bike he relives the spirit of the sixties, the happiest time of his life.  <> 

Helenka's rebellious ways test Eddie's laid-back life.  He tells her to "chill out" and enjoy the trip.  She strikes out at the establishment while her father's philosophy is 'make love, not war.'  Yet while their ideologies clash they slowly bond as father and daughter.  On the trip they are joined by Eddie's old friend, Grips, played by Heinz Hoenig (Das Boot).  Grip is a bit eccentric and owns a dream of a bike, a 1974 Norton Combat Commando. <> 

The mood in this movie reminds me of the old westerns, shot in the half-light of doorways and open sheds against the expansive vistas of the southwest.  It's almost as if the distant horizon is beckoning and pulling them toward their true destinies.  And instead of horses, motorbikes whisk them along the winding roads and stretches of land that housed the mythic American creation of the western.   The vintage bikes give depth to the story, each with its distinct exhaust bark, and along with the energy-driven traveling music create the feeling that freedom is just around the next bend.  <> 

Mimie LaGrande's character exudes a groping troubled young woman searching for some clarity in her life.  Though extremely attractive, Helenka has a tough outer shell that reflects a turbulent past.  Her callous heart is one that has been broken many times.  Thus her renewed relationship with her father takes a long time to blossom.  While they argue and pout they gradually accept one another and traces of the little girl in her start to beautifully emerge.  In early portions of the trip, Helenka is just a fixture on the back of the motorcycle but as the relationship warms, she clings to her daddy like a young child.  By the end of the film, she leaves the nest, transformed into a much stronger person who can fend for herself.   And her anger is now her energy, controlled and purposeful.  An impressive heartwarming performance to say the least. <> 

Her father, played by Rab Reilly, is a man who won't give up the past and the spirit of the sixties.  He wallows in the artifacts of that era, driving a vintage Harley Davidson Shovelhead, wearing a leather jacket and sporting a helmet with a peace symbol on the back.  He's a repentive father who knows he's done wrong, especially in abandoning his daughter.  Winning her back is quite a challenge and Reilly does an admirable job in depicting this struggle, knowing how fragile the relationship.   <> 

Grips, played by Heinz Hoenig, is a lovable old fart anyone would cherish as a drinking buddy.  He too has unfulfilled dreams and the trip to The Burning Man Festival is his last blast.  Ill and dying he adds a poignant sidebar to this tale.  Yet it is his humor and philosophies of life that create uplifting moments in this film.  A gifted and award winning actor, Hoenig plays his role like a true icon of the old west, gallant and courageous along with a good portion of heart. <> 

There are some ironic aspects to "The Last Blast."  Helenka, a tough punk kid always dressed in gothic black, portrays to be a vegetarian, avoids cigarettes and hard liquor; and instead she drinks milk.  But being true to her character she does have a tattoo on her butt.  And according to the press book, that scar under Mimie LaGrande's eye is real, the result of being attacked by a couple in London.  She fought them off slamming one into a Coke machine.   The scar could have been covered with makeup but it lent a Puccini-like sadness to her character.   Another ironic tidbit in the use of the line, "Never trust a fart and never waste a hard-on," which incidentally appears in both "The Last Blast" as well as in Jack Nickolson and Morgan Freeman's film, "The Bucket List."  It should be known that "The Last Blast" wrapped long before "Bucket List" was released and the likely explanation is that the line has long been circulating in many a bar. <> 

Production values on this film are first rate, especially the lensing by Urs Grünig, Eligio Nucci and John Spencer Rutherford.  This team captures the spectacular vistas of the trip as well as the subtle relationships between the three main characters.  The countless locations extending from Switzerland to Scotland to the deserts of Arizona, California and Nevada plus aerial shots give this film a big budget feel and add considerable impact to the dramatic journey.  The music by various cult-bands including Knuckledust, Illuminati, Canadian Folk Legend David Essig, streetbusker Rob van Wely, Krokus and many more likewise support the film’s journey, not only in distance but also in emotional awareness.  The sound design by Peter Von Siebenthal is extremely well done, particularly the traveling shots where the music is mixed with the approaching and passing sounds of the motorcycles.  It makes the open roads part of this story showing us the way to freedom and finding our own destiny. <> 

The self-deprecating credits Executed Produzzer, Big Ejite and Misdirected by Sohm Offös, are a story on to themselves and much too complex for this review.  They would, however, be good source material for an interview or a humorous behind-the-scenes film article.  Besides Mimie LaGrande, Rab Reilly and Heinz Hoenig, the film's cast also includes Nick Shane, Nina Iseli, Carl Sentance, Joshua C. McCardle, Marie Omlin, Michel Geisbrecht, Walt Michael, Michael Wallach, Andy Easterwood, and 'Crevelly' Bob St. Pierre as "Spirit of the Sixties."  118 minutes, not rated, in Swiss and English with English subtitles.

 

  March 20, 2019

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