Arthaus Filmverleih | Release Date: October 23, 1998 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Universal acclaim based on 25 Critic Reviews
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The Last Days is full of children and grandchildren. This idea of regeneration is a common thread that connects the stories of the five survivors, and provides the documentary with its unexpected warmth and redemptive power. [05 Mar 1999, p.51]
An unforgettable and profoundly inspiring film. [05 Mar 1999, p.04]
It's a gut-wrenching emotional experience that you'll watch with tears in your eyes. [26 Mar 1999]
Inevitably, The Last Days has its moments of pain. There are just enough glimpses of the camps (some in color) to remind us of the shocking physical conditions. But the sense of dignity these people convey, their resilience in the face of evil, their implicit acceptance of this traumatic and transforming experience, is truly inspirational. [26 Mar 1999]
The five stories are deftly interwoven by Moll, along with archival footage that puts these stories in contexts of time. [08 Mar 1999]
Though the power of some Holocaust documentaries is in part a product of their epic scope and epic running times, The Last Days overwhelms at just 87 minutes. [05 Feb 1999]
What makes The Last Days stand above the many similar films about the Holocaust and its survivors, though, is the fluidity with which Moll structures and passes through his material. In this, he's ably accompanied by Hans Zimmer's eloquent score and the crisp, simple photography of cinematographer Harris Done. [19 Feb 1999]
Powerful as the archival material is, the most loaded footage is of these survivors back on the pain-drenched turf of their Hungarian origins and the blood-drenched soil of the former concentration camps they outlived. Given the moral authority of their presence, the film doesn't need extraneous drama, and wisely avoids it. [26 Feb 1999, p.D4]
The Last Days manages to accomplish something even those other esteemed works do not: It melds meticulous historical accuracy and rare film footage with an achingly human spirit provided by five survivors. And all this is delivered in a fresh, concise manner. [12 Mar 1999, p.E3]
It's an honorable, straightforward, talking-heads-and-old-clips film that sometimes rises to profundity when it touches us deeply. [23 Apr 1999, p.10E]
The Last Days, despite its great subject, is not quite a great non-fiction film. It's too reserved and careful in tone to reach the heights of Alain Resnais' Night and Fog or Claude Lanzmann's Shoah. [12 Feb 1999, p.I]
This first-person account of suffering and survival among Hungarian victims of the Holocaust contains much stirring and revealing material, although the conventionality of its style diminishes the freshness and urgency of its content to a degree. [05 Feb 1999, p.14]
This is hatred in its purest form. Not a pretty sight, to be sure, but one that is well worth viewing. [04 Jun 1999, p.24]
The Last Days' major flaw, perhaps, is its conventionality: It takes us over the same horrific ground in the usual way. The shock is familiar. [26 Mar 1999, p.C6]