You Should Be Watching… Last Call (2019)

Director: Kat Constantinidou

Writer: Adele James

Cast: Adele James and Jaz Hutchins

There are films that exist to make you laugh, films that exist to make the hair at the back of your neck stand up, films that wrap your head in so many knots that you question what’s up and what’s down, and then there are those that exist because we need them to exist. “Last Call” is the latter.

THE PLOT

Savannah has got her best friend back and they’re going to enjoy a night in just like the good old days… or so she hopes. As the reality behind their irreversibly altered friendship becomes too much to ignore, can they find it in themselves make peace with the truth?

There was a time when discussing mental health was really taboo. It was frowned upon to the point that it wasn’t even worth the risk of even bringing it up in conversation; you would either be made to feel weak or be forced to assume a label that delegitimised what you were going through (e.g. crazy). Thankfully society has come a long way since those dark times and mental health isn’t swept under the rug, it’s blasted from the speakers, “it’s okay not to be okay”. There are whole weeks dedicated to it and documentaries with our favourite celebrities telling us about how it’s effected them. These have had a profound impact in helping to normalise these conversations and connect people to the help that they need. Whilst I believe that mental health should be a conversation amongst others (friends, professionals, etc), that’s just not the case. Most of us don’t seek out therapy and deal with the battle by ourselves, in our rooms, in the middle of the night.

Is it in your head or is it really happening? “Last Call” puts forward the perfect answer to that question, it’s both. Both can and are normally true. I saw someone in the comments describe this film as “beautiful sad” and I don’t think there’s much I could add to that description. It’s sad, it’s expressive, it’s distant, it’s close and it’s the point where all of them intersect.

I’ve never really watched short films before and I didn’t know that a film could be so effective at getting its point across in under 10 minutes with only two actors. The friendship between Savannah (Adele James) and Ashley (Jaz Hutchins) feels so genuine and believable and that what makes the way the story unravels so tragic. The performances of Adele James (who wrote the story) and Jaz Hutchins are outstanding, there aren’t any fancy special effects or cut scenes to distract you, the full focus is on them throughout the whole film and we become engrossed in their story. When you watch the film there’s an overbearing sense of “invasion of privacy”, it just feels like we’re not supposed to be in the room watching this all unfold because of how personal it is – that’s a testament to the tight angle camera shots and natural sounding conversation. It’s a cleverly written script that works from a place of “less-is-more”, it gives us as an audience a lot of credit and allows us to put the pieces of the puzzle together in real time and some won’t get it on the first watch and that’s alright, it’s short enough that you can watch it again and eventually it will click, I promise you.

It’s fitting that “Last Call” is available to watch on YouTube because films like this should be easily accessible to people and I don’t think that they should be behind the paywall of a streaming service when they could do so much good for so many people.

If you’re going through something, you should watch this film. You’re never the only one and peace is for everyone, not a select few.