The end of the world is nigh. We’re informed via car radio that a meteor has already struck the northern Atlantic Ocean. The all consuming, life-destroying shockwave will reach Perth, Western Australia - the world’s most isolated city - in approximately twelve hours. Mass panic and chaos have already set in. Many have already chosen to kill themselves and their loved ones as painlessly as possible, while others indulge in various forms of debauchery and hedonism. In the latter category is twenty-something Jimmy (Nathan Phillips), who for reasons we'll never be sure of leaves his sensitive, level-headed bit on the side (Jessica De Gouw) at her beach house to join his shrewish girlfriend and get obliterated - in every sense of the word - at his best mate’s massive house party. But Jimmy doesn’t get far before he finds himself rescuing twelve year-old Rose (Angourie Rice) from the worst fate, and thereafter spending a good chunk of his valuable remaining time torn between doing right by the child and doing right by his kin; between blocking it all out and setting things straight before The End.
For his first film, writer/director Zak Hilditch has created slick and enjoyable, if somewhat familiar sci-fi. THESE FINAL HOURS looks the part and largely entertaining in its execution, but feels a little restrained in its ambition, and without anything new to add - like a showreel for a bigger, better next gig rather than a story that Hilditch just had to tell. This is most apparent in Jimmy, who makes for a rather pedestrian everyman, and not someone who makes for particularly scintillating company, despite Phillips' complete commitment to the role. More interesting (and proactive) is young Rose, who wants to convince Jimmy to get her back to her family, many miles out of the way.
While he never quite manages any great surprises overall, Hilditch does provide a string of exciting set pieces, tense moments, and striking, locally flavoured detail. Even if it doesn’t break any new ground in the ‘end of the world’ sub-genre, THESE FINAL HOURS is an enjoyable addition to it.
THESE FINAL HOURS is released July 31 in Australia.