The Last Supper

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jude (Cameron Diaz), Pete (Ron Eldard), Luke (Courtney B. Vance), Paulie (Annabeth Gish), and Marc (Jonathan Penner) have a lot in common. The five have all graduated from college, all share a left-wing outlook, all love to have discussions about social & political issues, all five live in the same Iowa residence, and none of them care to even hear the opinions of those who think differently from them. They also all manage to sit down each Sunday evening and have dinner, during which they talk about current events, politics, and how they can do something to support their beliefs, instead of just sitting around. But on one Sunday night, one of them fails to show up on time and when they do, they have a different guest with them than expected. The man who helped the stranded motorist has shown up and because of his kind deed, is invited to stay for the meal. But the friends quickly see that this man (Bill Paxton) has a much different outlook than theirs, as he is a right-wing man with racist tendencies. When he takes offense to some of their comments, he attacks one of them and in the struggle, he is killed by the group. After they’ve buried him, they talk about what happened and soon decide that they’ve done something positive. So now on each Sunday, they plan to bring in someone with an alternative line of thought and if they deem it worthwhile, they plan to poison the guest right at the table…

This dark, sometimes brilliant movie had a limited theatrical release, then racked up a cult audience on home video, and now, it should find an even more sizable base of viewers. This is great news of course, since The Last Supper is an excellent picture that deserves more fans and thanks to DVD’s mainstream presence, more people should discover this one. That and star Cameron Diaz has went on to become a major force in the movies, while her costars include Annabeth Gish, Bill Paxton, Nora Dunn, Ron Perlman, and several other gifted performers. And the performances are terrific here, though one has to give immense credit to writer Dan Rosen (The Curve) and director Stacy Title (Let the Devil Wear Black), who conjure up some superb moments here and set a perfect table for their actors to work at. The writing is simply excellent throughout, so the stars have a natural advantage there, while Title’s direction is lean and mean, just as it should be in a low budget project such as The Last Supper. The premise is a good one and it unfolds to be even better than first thought, with a few moments of brilliance. I do wish Columbia had put more effort into this disc, but even in this barebones edition, the movie is well worth a look.

This was only her second feature film and her first substantial role, but even so, Cameron Diaz handled herself quite well. That is all the more impressive because of the nature of this material, which calls for her to play a rather complex person, one who has to give off the vibes of intelligence, but also seem quite the opposite at times. Given that her previous role in The Mask was one of mere scenery pretty much, Diaz takes a bold leap here and comes out smelling like a rose, giving us a peek into her immense success to come. She has taken on some dramatic roles since this one, but perhaps none with as much difficulty, as this material can be tough and her role is an important one, so its a real compliment to her skills, to say the least. Other films with Diaz include Charlie’s Angels, Vanilla Sky, The Invisible Circus, Being John Malkovich, Very Bad Things, There’s Something About Mary, and The Sweetest Thing. The cast also includes Ron Eldard (Deep Impact, Black Hawk Down), Annabeth Gish (Beautiful Girls, Mystic Pizza), Courtney B. Vance (Dangerous Minds, Cookie’s Fortune), and Jonathan Penner (Down Periscope, Bloodfist VII).

Video: How does it look?

The Last Supper is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I wasn’t too impressed by this treatment, but the blame is to be placed on the source material here, not on Columbia’s transfer methods. The print used has frequent nicks and marks, as well grain levels, much more than you’d expect from such a recent production. This could be why the image is softer than it should be, but as detail doesn’t suffer much, we won’t dwell on that issue. I found colors to be bright and consistent however, while flesh tones are natural at all times also. As far as contrast, the black levels are acceptable, but don’t look as refined as you might expect. This one shows its low budget roots, but I think Columbia’s treatment is about as good as possible.

Audio: How does it sound?

As average as the video is, the audio is a notch below it and simply fails to mount much of an experience. The 2.0 surround option covers the dialogue well enough, but never really tries much beyond that. I will say the music often sounds very good, but there is a total lack of atmosphere here and that’s a let down. I wouldn’t expect an audio assault with this kind of material, but some use of the surrounds would have been nice. Instead, we hear the music in the rears from time to time, but that’s about the extent of it. But as dialogue sounds good and never wavers, I doubt many people will be overly displeased with this soundtrack. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Japanese.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no supplements.

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