4:44: Last Day on Earth asks the question: if the world were to end tomorrow, how would you spend the remaining hours of your life? Despite the far-reaching moral implications of this premise, Abel Ferrara’s take on the apocalypse is neither catastrophic nor metaphysical in tone. In fact, his answer could be easily summarized: staying in, some chatting on Skype, a lot of sex.
New Yorkers Cisco (Willem Dafoe) and Skye (Shanyn Leigh) await the end at home. The reasons for the impending destruction reach us, confusedly, from the background: various talk shows discuss the sudden consumption of the ozone sphere, religious gurus address the audience, Al Gore has his own back. It seems clear that humankind bears the responsibility for what is about to happen: as to the specific causes, however, the explanations provided by the film are purposely vague.
Instead, Ferrara directs our attention to his characters. We’re led to closely follow their movements within their apartment, their changing attitudes and emotions. As the narrative slowly progresses, we purposefully keep wondering why, out of all the people in the world, we are stuck at the end with this particular twosome: an older man and a younger woman, an actor and an artist, caught in the push-and-pull of mutual affection. Read Pasquale Cicchetti’s review of 4:44: Last Day on Earth.