Last Orders

Released in 2001 this is the story of the life and death of Jack Dodd a London butcher and “salt of the earth” character who liked nothing more than a pint with his mates. He died watching a horse race but before his last moments, he had written a final request to his buddies, that his ashes be scattered in the sea at Margate. Vic, Lenny, Ray and Jack’s son Vince gather together to take Jack on his final trip.

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Country: USA

Language: English

Released in 2001 this is the story of the life and death of Jack Dodd a London butcher and “salt of the earth” character who liked nothing more than a pint with his mates. He died watching a horse race but before his last moments, he had written a final request to his buddies, that his ashes be scattered in the sea at Margate. Vic, Lenny, Ray and Jack’s son Vince gather together to take Jack on his final trip. As their trip continues, they reminisce about their times with Jack together, the stories being told in flashbacks.

Though it’s obviously going to be a sentimental journey, the flashes we get into Jack’s life are never less than truthful, never shying away from the hardships that life can bring, the slings and arrows that Jack lived through with stoicism. The film is a treat as we are slowly allowed to build up a picture of the complete man, each new flashback adding another facet to his character and those of his friends who inevitably feature. His wife Amy and son are obviously played upon more then the supporting characters (though to call them “supporting characters” seems almost a disservice, each character is as real and important as any other) and by the end of the film, we have a portrait of Jack as a complex and human individual.

Director Fred Schepsi adapted Graham Swift’s wonderfully poignant novel to form the narrative of this very human and endearing movie, then gathered the best possible cast he could assemble, all of whom you can imagine jumping at the chance to play in it. The legend that is Michael Caine plays Jack and brings every nuance of the character to life, making him completely credible. So skilful is Caine that by the end of the film you feel that you have come to know the real Jack. Bob Hoskins, Tom Courtnay and Ray Whinstone are also spot on in their roles giving each character a life and soul of their own and special mention has to be made to the wonderful Helen Mirren who beings an earthy yet motherly quality to Amy that makes her feel like you have known her all her life.

Last orders is a must see, a wonderfully enriching and satisfying portrait of the characters which never lets you down. If you’re looking for a beautifully written, beautifully performed character piece then you cannot go wrong with it. Just magical.

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