These Final Hours (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 10-Dec-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama/Thriller None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 86:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Zak Hilditch
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Nathan Phillips
Angourie Rice
Sarah Snook
Jessica De Gouw
Daniel Henshall
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Cornel Wilczek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† The horror genre has practically become synonymous with paranormal overtones, with 2013 alone begetting titles like The Conjuring and Evil Dead which involve chilling supernatural occurrences to generate scares. But 2014ís These Final Hours is a different type of genre movie. Itís definitely a horror flick, but its scares are not derived from ghosts or demons, but rather from its depiction of the ugly side of human nature in the face of a societal collapse. Itís an apocalypse film on a dime, eschewing images of large-scale global destruction to present a focused depiction of suburban meltdown on the eve of the worldís end. These Final Hours works because itís not about the apocalypse per se - rather, itís a tale about people dealing with the knowledge of the impending disaster. The result is powerful and not easily forgotten, and may compel you to mull over what you would do on Earthís final day.

††† Set at an unspecified time presumably not far into the future, the end of the world has arrived, with the planet being gradually ďpeeled like an orangeĒ following a devastating meteorite strike. The film is set in Western Australia, where mere hours remain until the end is upon them. Society has crumbled, giving rise to anarchy on the streets, with suicides, looting and murder everywhere in sight. Leaving his mistress to attend a party, James (Nathan Phillips) encounters utter chaos everywhere he goes, and happens upon a group of thugs whoíve kidnapped innocuous young girl Rose (Angourie Rice). In a stroke of guilt, James rescues Rose, and seeks to return the frightened child to her family. Itís not an easy task, however, and James finds himself conflicted about how to spend his final hours of life.

††† By eschewing a stereotypical Roland Emmerich approach, These Final Hours isnít a spectacle but rather a gripping, wholly plausible portrait of the end of the world, reflecting what is more likely to occur in the event of an apocalypse. Writer-director Zak Hilditch ladles on the horrific elements, observing the effects of looting and pillaging in a world without order, and even finding armed criminals relishing the opportunity to lay down their own laws. Suicides are rampant as well, with Hilditch staging scenes that may give people nightmares. These Final Hours is not for the faint of heart, with heavy thematic undercurrents and disturbing imagery, but itís also surprisingly touching as well. Hilditch filters the story through the point of view of James and Rose, grounding the story in humanity as we tour the apocalyptic atrocities. James initially wants to spend his final hours drinking and partying, but comes to appreciate what means the most to him in life, and such a character arc is incredibly affecting. These Final Hours does not introduce any false hope - this is not a story about trying to prevent the apocalypse, but rather an intimate story of redemption in times of chaos. Itís a clichťd notion, sure, but it doesnít diminish the movieís impact.

††† Not all of These Final Hours is entirely successful, though; an early vignette spotlighting a crazed maniac with a machete may provoke unintentional laughter, as itís played a bit too broadly. Plus, once the finish line is in sight, Hilditch introduces an additional complication that feels utterly forced, and not all of the dialogue works. (As destructive forces descend upon the Western Australia coast, one character exclaims ďItís beautiful!Ē) Nevertheless, These Final Hours is often compelling thanks to the technical sleight of hand. By limiting the storyís sense of scope, Hilditch never lets the picture out of his control, crafting smaller scenes of murderous turmoil and rampant immorality with incredible flair. There is much to admire about Hilditchís construction of the picture, compensating for lack of budget with sheer inventiveness. These Final Hours carries an orange hue in its visuals to convey the intense heat and the encroaching wall of fire, and the sound design is both effective and atmospheric. The movie doesnít feel cheap at all.

††† To Australian audiences, Nathan Phillips is perhaps best known for his turn in Wolf Creek back in 2005, though he has since appeared in movies like Snakes on a Plane and Balibo. His performance here is incredibly robust, communicating a wide swatch of emotions with seemingly little effort. Phillips sells his characterís conflicted nature throughout, not to mention his fear, and itís to his credit that heís so likeable and sympathetic as well. But even better is young Angourie Rice, whoís a revelation as Rose. She retains her childhood innocence, yet sheís also a nuanced actor, submitting a performance beyond her years.

††† Do not watch These Final Hours expecting a pleasant viewing experience, as itís uncompromising in its brutal violence and ugly behaviour. Thereís not a lot of replay value as a consequence, and the experience is a bit rough around the edges, but it still deserves to be seen. Recalling the likes of The Road and 28 Days Later... with a hint of Mad Max, itís one of the most riveting Aussie movies in years, showing that a sizeable budget is not always necessary to tell a powerful story or create sheer, visceral terror.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Presented by Roadshow in 1080p, AVC-encoded high definition, These Final Hours is a striking movie from a visual standpoint, and luckily this Blu-ray does justice to the beautiful cinematography. I viewed this particular movie twice at the cinema: once during a market research advanced screening in late 2013, and once at my local cinema. And as someone who saw the movie on the big screen, I was very satisfied with this disc.

††† Colour is strong and vibrant, with a push towards orange and yellow, and the aggressive colour timing in no way compromises detail or sharpness. On the contrary, the image is gorgeously defined and bursting with detail throughout, and although I did notice light banding in some areas, there are no major issues to report. Admittedly, some shots do look a bit smooth owing to the digital photography, but, again, itís never a big issue.

††† These Final Hours looks fine on Blu-ray. Fans and newcomers alike should be very satisfied with this solid video presentation from Roadshow.



Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

††† Roadshow have allotted These Final Hours a beautifully aggressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which again does justice to the theatrical presentation. The movie carries a nuanced sound design bursting with ambience, and the surround channels are put to good use in this sense.

††† Dialogue is consistently sharp and discernible, and thereís good subwoofer use when violence is perpetrated with firearms, hammers, or knives. The music also comes through cleanly, and is well-mixed. There are no issues to report with this track.

Audio Ratings Summary
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Extras

††† No extras. Not a thing. Just a link to the film website. Very disappointing.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † The film was released in Region A in May 2015, and the release appears to be identical to ours, except that the Region A disc carries a trailer. No meaty supplemental material anyway to be found. What a d*** shame. It's a draw. Buy local.

Summary

††† A bold, unique Australian movie which deserved more attention at the box office, and should get a second life on home video. Apart from the complete lack of extras, this is a fine Blu-ray from Roadshow, with excellent transfer quality that left this reviewer wholly satisfied. Recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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