There's only one flaw to be found in These Final Hours and that is that it's not even being released in ten countries, American not included among this list. The film is set on the final day on Earth. The world is about to go down in flames and we follow the story of James (Nathan Phillips), a self-indulgent man who's ditching his pregnant girlfriend, Zoe (Jessica De Gouw) to make it to a party, where he intends on getting it on with his other girlfriend one final time. Along the way, James saves the life of a young girl, Rose (Angourie Rice), who insists James takes her to her father, who's location is currently unknown. And so begins James' one last chance at redeeming himself.
These Final Hours is a psychotic thrill ride that never slows or dulls, and it's also one of the best films of the year. I'm not afraid to say that I love Australian cinema and 2014, as I constantly preach, has been our best year in a very long time. These Final Hours, like other films this year such as The Rover or Predestination, makes me proud to be Aussie. It's set in Australia, it was made in Australia and it stars Australians. It's a film that tackles the apocalypse in a mature and realistic manner, adding in a tonne of little details and reactions, such as a game of Russian Roulette as a party sport. It covers almost every type of reaction imaginable. There's the Christians, preaching to God. There's the party lovers, such as our protagonist, who insist on making the most of what they have left. There's a criminals, who go around committing their final crimes before its too late, and so on. It's a film with everything to give and nothing to loose.
By the time we're just five minutes into the film we've been told everything we need to know about what's going on. Our protagonist, Janmes, has been introduced, we've been informed of what's about to go down via a radio broadcast (a broadcast that continues to play as the film goes along, giving us even more insight into the events and informing us on just how long's left until the end of the world), and then the film just goes and goes, speeding through the events fast enough to last just over an hour, but not slow enough so that it feels like it's dragging.
It's a very character driven film, with three characters playing more important roles. While disaster is always coming, These Final Hours is all about the relationship between Nathan Phillips' character and Angourie Rice's character, as well as the more romantic relationship between Phillips and Jessica De Gouw. All three of these performances are powerful, Phillips in particular. He's tough, stern and makes for one hell of a protagonist. While De Gouw may not get an awful lot of screen time, her character is like the backbone of the movie. She holds everything together and she too gives a great performance.
To sum up, These Final Hours is another reason why I'm proud to be Australian. It's a gripping, intense and realistic apocalypse movie that's highly character driven and feeds off of the lead's brilliant performances.
4 1/2 Stars