I’m thinking The Last Man is a remake of the 1985 Australian film, The Quiet Earth, but there are many differences. The Last Man is more upbeat and funnier, and has less of a mysterious sci-fi quality to it. This movie was made with a shoestring budget, it was quite easy to see, since the sets were pretty much various places in the California desert, and there was only a cast of three people. Still, all things considered, to me, it was still better than the Aussie movie.
We open when we see post grad student, Alan (David Arnott), walking down the city street pushing a shopping cart full of items. I guess when you are the last person alive, everything is just there for the taking. Some shops are still locked up, and electricity is still running. We see bodies on the street, still pretty much intact, showing no signs of decomposition, so whatever hit was quick and had not happened all that long ago. Alan breaks into an electronics store and grabs some camcorders. The alarms go off, but there is no one to respond to them, so he just continues with his shopping. He lives out in the desert because he finds the city to be to depressing. Most likely does not smell too good either. He took the cameras to start the filming of a video diary to any other people in the future that might want to know what happened.
Alan is a frumpy kind of guy, but he has an interesting past, in that he is a student of anthropology, and has spent time among a tribe of primitive South American Indians that practiced a lifestyle of detachment. He is going to do his best to live by their example, and is going through one of their bizarre rituals when a pretty redhead, Sarah (Jeri Ryan). This gives her a good scare, and she runs off, but Alan catches up to her, and once she gets past the initial shock, she is very happy to see that Alan is a normal person, although a bit nerdy, and even though she is really not attracted to him, she fears being alone. Soon, they are making a home in Alan’s camp, but things are not quite as easy to live with as Alan thought they would be. Sarah is the kind of person that uses others for her own gain, and she knows this, but cannot stop her dangerous addiction, even in a world where she shares it with only one other person. Soon that changes when Alan and Sarah are on an errand to get supplies in the city.
They come across a cute, younger man, Raphael (Dan Montgomery Jr.) trying to hitch a ride. He does not know about the disaster, and soon he becomes part of the group. Later on, Alan can tell that some kind of bond has developed between Sarah and Raphael. Even though he is still trying to live his life based on that of the tribal values he learned, his Western world influence wins out. He becomes sneaky and suspicious, and is upset because Raphael’s good looks, charm, and fun-loving nature have been used to steal his girl away.
While this movie has its moments, it is no keeper, but like a Lovecraftian story, it makes you think about the situation after you have watched it. Would you have done things the same way as the characters in this movie if you got caught in the same situation? While there have been other movies made like this, and books, like Stephen King’s The Stand, The Last Man does hold its own, and for a movie with only three characters, that’s not so bad.
I give this film a Musing review of