Written and Directed by Abel Ferrara, this 2011-released film 4:44 Last Day on Earth is an apocalyptic drama. It talks about a day in the life of a loving couple who among all other human beings on the planet are waiting for their fate as a result of the environmental catastrophe which will hit the earth the next morning at 4:44 am.
Set in New York City, and mostly on a single set, the film documents Cisco (Willem Dafoe), a successful actor who with all restlessness just wants to spend his last moments with the woman he cares about, Skye (Shanyn Leigh). She is a painter who wants to keep herself busy working on a large painting that acts as a medium to let out her emotions.
As they try to catch television reports on the final meltdown and how it would be, they sense a very uneasy silence engulfing the city. Cisco even saw a man jumping from the roof and committing suicide which makes him angry with everyone and for that matter all of us who are responsible for committing environmental crimes.
Ferrara’s narrative is very powerful without any special effects, for that matter without any such need to instill fear in audiences’ minds. He portrays the day before the doomsday as nothing more than a normal day while capturing the sense of melancholy from the silence and even so from the anxiousness and uncommon behaviors of the characters.
One of the powerful scenes of 4:44 Last Day on Earth is when Skye asks her lover Cisco, “Why even bother?” as she watches him shave. Cisco replies, “I do it for you”. In fact, Skye’s question is absurd when she herself is trying so hard to finish the painting, knowing the fact that hours later the whole world comes to a standstill.
The final meltdown will come not without warnings, but with no means of escape. There will be no survivors. As always, there are those who, as their last cigarette is being lit and the blindfold tightened, will still hope against hope for some kind of reprieve. For a miracle. Not our two lovers. They – like the majority of the Earth’s population – have accepted their fate: the world is going to end. [From the official synopsis]
Director & Writer: Abel Ferrara
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Shanyn Leigh, Natasha Lyonne, Paul Hipp, and Trung Nguyen.
Release Date/Year: September 6, 2011 (Venice), March 25, 2012 (US)