What can I tell you, I’m a sucker for these immersive post-apocalyptic movies. Last Sentinel is a well-crafted and highly underrated science fiction movie. It offers an intriguing story, excellent performances, and stunning visuals. We will be following the crew of a lonely outpost in the middle of the sea as they anxiously await the arrival of their replacements. I say in the middle of the sea but since the great war, the sea levels rose covering almost the entire surface of the Earth with water. And yes, sometimes the environmental angle does become a bit heavy-handed but it’s still not annoying. However, I do want to talk to you about something else.
Last Sentinel is a slow-burning movie with a lot of tension but just a few action scenes. If this is not your cup of tea or you’re not in the mood for such an experience, you better skip it. For those of us who love immersing ourselves in these desolate post-apocalyptic worlds, Last Sentinel is definitely a movie worth watching. The opening scene was expertly made to show the true power of the sea and the precarious position of the rig. I say rig but what this structure is in reality is an actual military outpost that only looks like a rig. What we’re talking about here are the Maunsell Forts, armed towers built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during WWII.
Surprisingly, two of them are still operational after all these years. The setting itself provides the ultimate escapist experience, amplified by the attention to detail. The inner logic of the movie is excellent for the most part. So, it was only logical that the characters follow in the same direction. Flawed and authentic, they transport us to this unusual situation. A situation where your entire world is reduced to this metal contraption. A contraption that’s slowly falling apart and is under constant threat by both nature and the invisible enemy.
Unlike other post-apocalyptic movies, Last Sentinel opts for a more structured dystopia reminiscent of the world of Screamers. It reduces the pompous slogans and posters to a soberingly bleak reality. This is exemplified by a number of scenes but the toilet one was the best in my opinion. Just a couple of years ago we had the pleasure of watching The Colony or Tides, a visually similar science fiction movie. I recommend you check it out if you’re looking for more of the same. Mostly because it has that unique European vibe just like Last Sentinel directed by a talented Estonian director Tanel Toom.
It is the year of our lord Arvo Part 2063 and the world has changed a lot since the last century. Humans can no longer destroy the environment because there’s not that much environment nor humans. There are only two small continents now and they’re also at war. The rest of the world is covered in water. Far from land is the lonely military outpost Sentinel, manned by a skilled crew of four. After two years, their contract is finally up but their replacements are still not showing up…
Last Sentinel is a movie that has an extraordinary ability to generate tension from only a handful of elements. It’s truly fascinating to watch how every sound, movement of the camera, or anything else can create this ominous atmosphere. An atmosphere that’s already pretty bleak and dystopian mind you. Each of the cast members played their roles straight and each of them did a terrific job. I just wish we learned a bit more about them but you can’t have everything I guess.
The same goes for the ending and the running time of almost two hours. Despite these flaws, Last Sentinel remains an excellent movie you should check out. Finally, I feel compelled to mention three more highly underrated science fiction movies, Vesper, Gold and Final Voyage. And if rigs in the middle of the ocean are your thing, do check out Sector 7.
Director: Tanel Toom
Writer: Malachi Smyth
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Lucien Laviscount, Martin McCann, Thomas Kretschmann, Ben Pullen
Fun Facts: Most of the movie was shot in Linnahall buidling in Tallinn, Estonia .