Without doubt one of my favourite movie genres involve disasters or apocalyptic end of the world scenarios. Be it the over the top visual effect filled 2012, the comedic This Is The End or the more serious Titanic or Towering Inferno they all capture my attention. It's rare though to see a film such as These Final Hours where the story focuses on the emotion and characters more than the actual disaster, but this film is an absolute cracker.
It's the last day on earth, twelve hours before a cataclysmic event will end life as we know it. James (Nathan Phillips) makes his way across a lawless and chaotic city to the party to end all parties. Along the way, he somewhat reluctantly saves the life of a little girl named Rose (Angourie Rice) who is desperately searching for her father. Stuck with the unexpected burden of responsibility, James is forced to come to terms with what really matters in life as the final hours tick away.
Playing the central character of the film, Australian actor Nathan Phillips does an admirable job in conveying the often changing emotions as James. Kudos too must go to the young Angourie Rice who plays Rose - a child who is surrounded by very adult concepts and themes. In her first feature film role (she has acted in short films including the post-apocalyptic Transmission for the same director - Zak Hilditch), she puts in a very solid performance in such a hard role. It's nice to see that she has since received a role in Shane Black's upcoming film The Nice Guys.
Of course a film about the end of the world told realistically isn't going to be a "happy" experience for the most part, and that isn't the case here with people committing all sorts of crimes, and suicides, but it's a gorgeous film that asks the ultimate question - what would you do? Thought provoking, well-acted, and gorgeously shot, this is one of the best Australian films in years.
The AVC MPEG-4 encoding, at the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, looks fantastic from start to finish with plenty of fine detail on everything from characters faces, to the smallest grasses and shrubs.
These Final Hours includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track on Blu-Ray which allows for a stunningly clear experience from start to finish. Despite the film being set at the end of the world there are few moments for the sound field to come alive as it is very front channel dialogue based. Still, in the few occasions when there is a need for the sound field to liven up the surround sound channels get a decent workout.
At the 32 minute mark Jimmy and Rose reach a dance party which not only fills the surround sound channels but will have your sub-woofer thumping to the music.
There is only one other audio track on this disc - an English Audio Description track for the Vision Impaired which is encoded in a pretty disappointing Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224kbps. There is also only one single subtitle track, a Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which is accurate to the on-screen dialogue and noises.
Sadly there are no extras at all on this disc besides some trailers at the disc startup for the Australian film Felony, the action packed The Expendables 3 and Denzel Washington starring The Equalizer.
Review By: Dave Warner