I watched the film “These Final Hours” at the cinema a year ago. It’s made by a local film-maker from Perth, Western Australia, and was shot on location right here in Western Australia. The last scene on the beach in the film was actually shot at Point Peron in my own town of Rockingham.
I just so happened to surf onto the film again this morning on Foxtel cable television, and decided to watch it again.
The storyline of “These Final Hours” is rather grim. The trigger-happy powers that be have pressed those fatal buttons and assured the total annihilation of the entire world. America, and the entire Northern Hemisphere, is gone. A rolling, unstoppable tsunami of hellish fire is on its way to the last 2 countries left in the world – Australia and New Zealand.
No “On The Beach” dramas here a la Nevil Shute. There’s only a scant few hours left for Western Australia before the fires reach our shores. A lone radio broadcaster summarises the end of the world as it happens. In the film, James, the main protagonist is just about to leave his girlfriend to go to the Biggest and Last Party On Earth, when she tells him she’s pregnant. At the start of the film, James is a two-timing scoundrel, who’s estranged from his own mother and doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He’s about to go to this Party to hook up with his other girlfriend.
On the way, James happens upon a little girl lost, Rose, who begs him to help her get to her aunt’s house in the hills (Roleystone, to be exact), where she believes her father has gone to spend these final hours. Reluctantly, James agrees to help her. After he’s gotten to the Big Party first, of course.
The Party is as hedonistic as it gets. It is, after all, the Party to end all parties, the last one ever, let’s all go out with a bang and not a whimper. One of the partygoers, who calls herself “Mandy’s Mum” (the wonderful actress Sarah Snook in a short but memorable role) is obviously high on drugs or otherwise off her rocker, and makes little Rose take a pill, which makes her sick. Meanwhile, James’ (other) girlfriend shows him the underground bunker that’s been prepared for her family to ride out the Apocalypse in. James tells her it’s not deep enough underground, and a year’s supply of food and water won’t be any good, as the radiation will take thousands of years to dissipate. Basically, we’re all dead already.
Anyway, because Rose is throwing up and feverish from taking that pill, James doesn’t know what else to do but to take her to his estranged mother’s house. There, while Rose recovers, James and his Mum are able to reconcile. He asks her what she intends to do with these final hours. Previous scenes showed groups of people praying in the streets, and mercy killings and suicides of entire families, as well as looting and The Party. James’ Mum simply says she’ll be doing some jigsaw puzzles.
Now James has had a change of heart and mind, and is determined to get Rose back to her family. And then he intends to go back to his pregnant girlfriend, that he’s realised is his real love. We’re talking Redemption here.
Alas, poor Rose’s other family members have done away with themselves out in the bushland behind her aunt’s house. James wants to take Rose with him back to his waiting girlfriend, but Rose tells him she promised her father they would see the end of the world together, and she’s staying put. So James drives away, with the poignant vision of Rose in his car mirror, running behind him and waving good bye, until neither of them can see each other anymore.
Halfway down the highway, James’ car overheats and he gets out and starts running. The heat is becoming unbearable, as the lone radio broadcaster states that there’s under an hour left before the tsunami of rolling fire reaches the shores of Western Australia. Birds are literally dropping out of the sky.
James manages to run back to (presumably) Rockingham, where he’d left his pregnant girlfriend earlier. Only, she’s not in the house, so James runs down to the beach to look for her. He sees the rolling, roiling clouds of fire coming towards him, but he also sees his girlfriend standing alone on the beach, waiting for the inevitable.
With scarcely five minutes left, James and his girlfriend still manage to find time to have one last argument before reconciling. Finally, they stand together, arms around each other, faces turned towards the wall of fire.
Then, white out.
Watch the trailer of “These Final Hours” here.
This film made me cry. It wasn’t so much the fact that okay, the world is ending, so what will you do with these final hours? But more the question of: How the hell did we let it come to that? Why were we unable to stop ourselves from self-annihilation? Why did we allow all those wars to happen, all that killing, terrorism, destruction of the environment? Were we too complacent? Were the voices of those who spoke out and spoke up too soft for others to hear and heed? Or were we too far gone down the route of consumerism and capitalism, that we no longer cared about the wellbeing of our humanity and Mother Earth?
Yes, it might have been only a movie. But in that movie, the whole World ended. And it was all our own bloody fault.
And do you know what the scary thing is? That it could bloody well happen to us one day, if we all continue down this destructive path of negligence, ignorance and mis-information. If we don’t wake up now and realise that we are responsible for our own future and the future of Mother Earth. This isn’t a spaceship that’s taking us to the Promised Land. This IS the Promised Land, and we are failing miserably to appreciate what we have, to protect it and preserve it for our children and future generations.
What frustrates me is that we are custodians of the Earth, but look at what our greed, selfishness and egos are doing to it. More and more creatures have gone extinct or face extinction due to human activity, in the name of Money.
Where land should be farmed and tilled for crops to feed the hungry, there are vast housing estates filled with homes that not everyone can afford, while the homeless linger on the fringes of society, largely unnoticed. In some countries, it is even ILLEGAL to feed the homeless and destitute!
Also, in some countries, it is ILLEGAL to live off the grid, to be self-sufficient and live off your own land, store rainwater, generate your own power. Why?? So that the government can keep you under control, by plugging you into The System, like those millions of other drones.
You have been warned.