Artist Philip Humm’s original homage to Faust explores many facets.
Right from the start it has to be said that what holds this imaginative retelling and development of the famous story by Goethe together, is dominated by two sincere and powerfully engaging performances. Steven Berkoff, who will no doubt act as a draw for, THE LAST FAUST, is in his mature element. Still as laser-like as ever, his performance as ‘Dr Goodfellow,’ has a warmth and depth as well as serving up a superbly paced narrative, which if this film is to reach a wider audience, is very much needed. Timed perfectly, even casual students of the Faustian story will be in no doubt as to unfoldment of the tale itself.
This virtuoso of acting is counterbalanced by the rough rawness, and very emotive, theatrical delivery of actor Martin Hancock’s Faust. Set in the future, the story is a modern reworking and commentary on our times. The original story of Faust always echoed the harshness and lack of true soul in the world, true compassion, and commented and debated with the light and dark in all of us. However this Faust takes it step further.
Philip Humm takes us on a journey, which although is wordy and theatrical has the style of a classic Noir film.
Philip Humm takes us on a journey, which although is wordy and theatrical has the style of a classic Noir film. Tropes of light and dark, and angular, modern cinematography lends this film a garish, retro look that is also not dissimilar to the look of some avant-garde visuals seen in a 1980’s pop promos. The costume and styling too exhibit a hard-edged glamour which considering the budget, which was not huge, and is a wonderful feat. In fact, this is one film, where there wasn’t really a budget, because as a project, THE LAST FAUST, grew from Humm’s desire to expand from what was originally a project meant to be an installation, or a collection of works. However, the decision to expand onto film was a highly interesting one. The resultant film is also unique in that it follows both parts of the Faust story, but at no time does the jump up to a feature length spell any loss of intensity. The vision of Philip Humm is big, and he also really shows he has understood what it is to envisage a feature, simply because every single actor, every single bit of prop, dress, lighting and make-up is good. Thought out, orchestrated and delivered into a film which although will not appeal to a mainstream audience, still packs a punch. Meticulous and moderate in pace, this is a straight-forwards art house rout about Faust, and when seen in that frame, it works well.
So, if Art house and Faust are your thing, or you’re a fan of Steven Berkoff, THE LAST FAUST, is for you. If narrative pace, deep drama or insightful story structure are what you want, then look elsewhere. However, with such strong performances, this is a piece worth a look for that alone.
THE LAST FAUST available from 2nd December on all major digital platforms including Amazon, iTunes and Sky Store.