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Last and First Men

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Iceland

2020

1h 12m

Director Jóhann Jóhannsson

Starring Tilda Swinton

Genre Drama, Science Fiction

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Two billion years into the future, the human race teeters on the verge of extinction. They share a telepathic hive mind and have evolved into grotesque beings. All that is left on Earth are large and bizarre monuments that project their messages into nature, messages of help.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

Empire by

An unconventional and imperfect first work of a career that would have been fascinating to watch unfold, Jóhannsson’s images are just as strong as his typically excellent, haunting musical composition.
80

The Hollywood Reporter by Deborah Young

Halfway between fiction and documentary, Last and First Men is a visionary work about the final days of humankind that stretches the audience’s ability to imagine not only an immense time frame reaching over billions of years, but huge steps in human evolution.
83

The Film Stage by Ed Frankl

This is Jóhannsson’s first and last film, and its hard not to recognize that this is a director who arrived fully formed as a visual artist. His dreamy combination of sound and images, the editing and pacing, and his use of Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s grainy 16mm cinematography combine with strange potency.
91

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Guided by Jóhannsson’s ethereal score, this dazzling apocalyptic immersion blends cosmic 16mm black-and-white images of Yugoslavian architecture with a deadpan Tilda Swinton voiceover, resulting in a profound lyrical rumination on the end of days.
100

Variety by Guy Lodge

A ravishing 70-minute audiovisual essay on human mortality, extinction and legacy — all the more poignant for being its maker’s final creative statement.
60

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Last and First Men is an interesting if minor work, perhaps comparable to Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Homo Sapiens or Michael Madsen’s Into Eternity.

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