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The Last of England1987

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  • 3.6
An apocalyptic roar of a movie, Derek Jarman's dizzying THE LAST OF ENGLAND is a lament for the country he once knew and what he feared it would become. One of Jarman's most experimental and overwhelming works, he has Tilda Swinton stalk through the remnants of industrial England, encountering visions of fascistic slaughter and sacrifice. These nightmares are cut together with his family's idyllic home movies, a link with the past soon to be severed, all overlaid with bleak quotations from poets like T.S. Eliot and Allen Ginsberg, read in the stentorian tones of Nigel Terry. A kaleidoscopic view of his country's culture and history, filled with rage at Margaret Thatcher's conservative reign and haunted by the continuing scourge of AIDS (with which Jarman was later diagnosed), the movie is both deeply personal and grimly historical. It is undoubtedly one of the most important British films of all time.

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Winner of the Teddy for "Best Feature Film" at the 1988 Berlinale.


1 member likes this review

A howling, non-narrative protest of 1980’s Britain, a ‘world curling up like an autumn leaf’, shouted-out with visceral, experimental photography that holds your attention like a boot on the throat. A visual blitzkrieg of post-apocalyptic urbanscapes, warm home movies of good old England and WWII finest hour moments and fascist squads in ski masks with assault rifles detaining and executing prisoners. Some of the editing is so fast it borders on subliminal. Many remarkable scenes, such as a young thug smashing a Baroque painting of a cherub, then dry humping it. The 80’s nuclear war paranoia was especially powerful. Even though I don’t agree with the politics, this is a fascinating movie, but it would have been much more effective as a short feature.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (4)

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top reviewer

A howling, non-narrative protest of 1980’s Britain, a ‘world curling up like an autumn leaf’, shouted-out with visceral, experimental photography that holds your attention like a boot on the throat. A visual blitzkrieg of post-apocalyptic urbanscapes, warm home movies of good old England and WWII finest hour moments and fascist squads in ski masks with assault rifles detaining and executing prisoners. Some of the editing is so fast it borders on subliminal. Many remarkable scenes, such as a young thug smashing a Baroque painting of a cherub, then dry humping it. The 80’s nuclear war paranoia was especially powerful. Even though I don’t agree with the politics, this is a fascinating movie, but it would have been much more effective as a short feature.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

definitely dizzy beautifully shot_always frenetic

What was that crap. It made no sense, whatsover and didn't carry a message. It has the overall quality of a c- film student who procrastinated on their final. 90 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

Weird even for Derek Jarman. A bit self-indulgent and incomprehsible. The end of culture, which was a lie anyway.