With wit and poignancy, director/writer/actor Don MCKELLAR's feature film directorial debut, Last Night (1998), depicts the final hours in the lives of a group of Torontonians as they await the impending end of the world. In scenarios that are alternately hilarious, tragic and absurd, they struggle to find meaning in what's left of their lives. With a touch of offbeat Canadian humour, the mundane and the surreal are often counterpointed to provide some dark moments, and the film's use of music and visual wit adds an eerie dimension.
Sandra (Sandra OH) just wants to get home to spend the final night with her husband. Caught in the city with no transportation, she hooks up with Patrick (McKellar), a lonely recluse who is planning to spend the night listening to his favourite music. His friend Craig (Callum Keith RENNIE) has made it his mission to sleep with anyone he can, including his old high school French teacher (Geneviève BUJOLD). Intriguingly, McKellar offers no reason for the impending doom; he simply indicates that the people know it is coming.
Last Night sets a precedent of sorts. For a country that isn't thought to have a star system, it features Canada's first all-star cast, with standout performances by McKellar, Rennie, Oh, Bujold, David CRONENBERG and Sarah POLLEY.
The film's awards include Genies for best actress (Oh), supporting actor (Rennie) and the Claude Jutra Award for the Best First Feature. It also won the Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian Feature and the Prix de la Jeunesse at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.