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These Final Hours


Stars: Nathan Phillips, Angourie Rice, Jessica de Gouw, Sarah Snook, Lynette Curran, Kathryn Beck, Daniel Henshall

Director: Zak Hilditch

Director Hilditch takes a documentary-like approach to this account of Australians facing the end of the world, making it much more realistic and visceral than the similarly-themed On the Beach, also set in Australia, many years ago.

A meteorite-driven firestorm is sweeping the world, most of which has already been engulfed in the ensuing inferno, leaving Oz the last continent to go. The end is a mere 10 hours away, as we find James (Phillips) having sex with a girl (de Gouw) who is not his girlfriend, but who is expecting a baby that will, of course, never be born.

Heading off to see his mother and sister, James rescues an 11-year-old girl (Rice) from threatening rednecks, and they set out on what proves to be an apocalyptic road trip.

Destiny has overtaken many of those along the way in fashions you'd predict: many have already topped themselves, while others cavort in frantic orgies, waiting to flee to a below-ground bunker that will probably provide little protection from the all-consuming fireclouds.

As they travel, the friendship between husky, not-too-bright James and the more sensitive Rose, who is searching for her father, grows apace.

This is the kind of film that Australians do well: parts are unpleasant if rarely graphically so, while the film unearths a real treasure in young Rice, completely natural and reminiscent of the young Hayley Mills.

James does eventually reach his mother (an observant cameo from Curran) who greets him with mixed emotions. 'You know what pisses me off,' she tells him. 'I'd already said goodbye to you two or three times. Then you turn up for real.'

David Quinlan

Australia 2013. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour by Atlab.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 04 May 2016