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That Good Night


Stars: John Hurt, Charles Dance, Sofia Helin, Max Brown, Erin Richards, Noah Jupe

Director: Eric Styles

Hurt's last film is in some ways a painful experience given that he died at 77 soon after its completion. He plays a famous screenwriter, Ralph, still working in semi-retirement at his well-appointed villa in the Algarve, with panoramic views of the countryside, in the company of his much younger second wife (Helin).

And he has just been to hospital for a prognosis. 'How are you, sir?' asks a nurse on his arrival. 'If I knew that,' retorts Ralph, 'I wouldn't be here, would I?'

We should perhaps all choose to die in such idyllic surroundings, but death is death and Ralph is told he has motor neurone disease, and only months to live. He summons the son he has not see in years: Michael (Brown) arrives with current girlfriend Cassie (Richards) in tow, but Ralph, being the arrogant and difficult (read rude) old goat that he is, soon alienates them and they leave.

Then there's the white-suited 'visitor' (Dance), who may, or may not be Death himself, or even a figment of Ralph's imagination, or a doctor hired to administer euthanasia to a dying man.

Whatever it is, Ralph survives - for the time being.

The star looks agonisingly haggard, but gives his usual droll and cleverly-rounded performance, creating easily the most memorable character in a pleasing but largely unmemorable film.

David Quinlan

UK 2017. UK Distributor: Trafalgar Releasing. Colour by Arri.
92 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 May 2018