Last Breath – Hot Docs 2019 Quickie Review

The concept of Last Breath is reminiscent of a Hollywood thriller; following a saturation diver who is severed from his life-line and falls to the bottom of the North Sea. However, filmmakers Alex Parkinson and Richard Da Costa chose to frame this particular incident in documentary form; allowing their audience to develop a connection with the actual people who became immersed in this situation. We delve not only into the character of the man stranded on the seabed, but also into those of the people trying to rescue him.

It is a film comprised of stock footage from the event itself, combined with moments recreating them. This is a way of documentary filmmaking that has been done before, yet Parkinson and Da Costa try something different and unique. The final thirty minutes show a spin on the events of the previous hour that work to the film’s advantage. Without describing it in too much detail, this particular creative choice allows for greater affect from the audience; both before and after “it” occurs. As the film draws to a close and the credits begin, we are allowed to finally take a breath. It is a film that doesn’t slow down for its entire runtime, even with moments of technical uncertainty, like the score being a bit too pulsing or the camerawork being a bit too unfocused.

Last Breath is set to be screened at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, as part of the World Showcase program, on the following dates:

Monday, April 29th – 6:45 PM – Hart House Theatre

Tuesday, April 30th – 3:30 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Sunday, May 5th – 8:45 PM – Scotiabank 3

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