Parents' Guide to

Last the Night

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violence, language in bad, insensitive school shooter flick.

Movie NR 2022 87 minutes
Last the Night Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Powerful, Must-See Movie

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Writer-director Nick Leisure has made a shoot-'em-up film that's dangerously bad. It wants to be a modern-day Falling Down, a cult classic that's reviled as much as it is revered. But Leisure is no Joel Schumacher. Like the main character in that psychological thriller, history teacher Mr. Dunbar is intended to be seen as an anti-hero. He's initially shown as a loving father with a gentle demeanor who's isolated by the pandemic, going through a divorce, and not allowed to see his daughter. With quarantine in place, he teaches a group of disengaged and disrespectful high schoolers online. The opening line is a student calling George Washington a "bitch" because he enslaved people, while Dunbar tries to find a way to explain that it was a different time. This is intended to encourage viewers to sympathize with Dunbar's feelings that the world is changing -- and, with it, his status. When he overhears a group of diverse students in a breakout session in their online classroom, he realizes that he (and, it's implied, all middle-aged White men) is now the punch line ... and the punching bag. So Dunbar decides to take back his power by hunting and gunning the kids down at school.

It's truly unclear what Leisure is hoping to accomplish with this insensitively revolting plot. Dunbar has the American flag hanging on his wall, he pushes back against wearing a mask, and he whistles "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" while entrapping the teens. He's portrayed as unstable but also with sympathy. Is Leisure pointing the finger at this type of "patriot," a word that's come to have double meaning in the United States? Or is this supposed to be a revenge fantasy for a generation of men who feel that the rug has been pulled out from under them? Either way, it suggests that victims -- and society -- are to blame. With school shootings a frightening real-life issue, Leisure's approach is both tactless and reckless. Last the Night is an example of a situation in which a filmmaker's lack of talent and common sense could actually risk fueling the flames of a vulnerable person looking to validate their world view. And, even if you remove all of the artistic irresponsibility, the script is illogical and poorly executed. This high school thriller should be expelled.

Movie Details

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