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LAST OF THE HIGH KINGS

SYNOPSIS:
It is 1977 in Dublin, at a time when the world rocked to the music of Thin Lizzie and was stunned by the death of Elvis Presley. This is the ‘coming of age’ story of 17 year old Frankie Griffin (Jared Leto), who is plagued by his fiery anarchic mother (Catherine O’Hara), who survives on Guinness, cigarettes and her burning sense of Irish nationalism. Caught between acne and adulthood, broke, obsessed by rock music and dreams of Californian beach girls, Frankie searches for independence through the summer between leaving school and starting the rest of his life.

"A gently disappointing film, The Last of the High Kings forever skirts emotional engagement, flirts with dramatic tension, woos romanticism and tries to seduce with Irish charm. Sadly, the script is far too underpowered, and the good looking young star (Jared Leto) suffers from photogenesis where we would have liked inner charisma. Catherine O’Hara’s Mum is a good turn, and a wholly contradictory Irish character, full of pride and passion, rapid emotional curves and a good dose of bigotry – as well as a dollop of decent pragmatism. Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Rea and Christina Ricci are all wasted in incidental characters that, while performed brilliantly, add nothing to the film’s value where it matters. It all makes the film a long 104 minutes."
Andrew L. Urban

"Last of the High Kings is a gentle story built on characters, who, although interesting and colourful, somehow never quite gel together, nor does the story go anywhere. The Irish charm does filter through somewhat, together with subtly amusing lines, and all in all, this is a film that has promise, but never delivers. Catherine O’Hara is engaging and gives a most entertaining performance as the extremist mother; Jared Leto is stunning to look at with his handsome features, but as Andrew says, the inner soul is somewhat lacking. Gabriel Byrne’s role is so small and inconsequential - he appears stilted and ill-at-ease. Some of the issues explored in this film which travels the road from adolescence to adulthood, are quite poignant and real; Frankie’s shyness with girls is one issue that is realistically developed. Although the bonds of family are clearly shown, the lack of cohesive script and direction lessens the impact and entertainment value of the film, which does feel rather long. Disappointing."
Louise Keller

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LAST OF THE HIGH KINGS (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Jared Leto, Catherine O’Hara, Christina Ricci, Gabriel Byrne, Des Braden, Lorraine Pilkington, Emily Mortimer, Jason Barry, Karl Hayden, Darren Monks, Peter Keating, Stephen Rea, Colm Meaney

DIRECTOR: David Keating

PRODUCER: Tim Palmer

SCRIPT: David Keating, Gabriel Byrne (based on novel by Ferdia MacAnna)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bernd Heinl

EDITOR: Ray Lovejoy

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Frank Conway

RUNNING TIME: 104minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: New Vision

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 6, 1997







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