‘The Last Days of Capitalism’ Ambiguity is one of the film's strengths
By Bob Bloom, ReelBob
★★½ (2½ stars out of 4) Posted on October 24, 2021 by Bob Bloom
The movie is more like a filmed play. All the action - what little there is - and the talk - a lot of that - takes place in the suite. --Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
[The Last Days of Capitalism] makes for a rather convincing portrait of the faux American dream and white privilege. --Shikhar Verma, High on Films
Even those uninclined to work out all of the script's hidden meanings will find reasons to enjoy this trim indie drama. --M. Faust, The Public (Buffalo)
“The Last Days of Capitalism” is a character study of two people — a rich “artist” and a prostitute — who spend a weekend together in his posh hotel suite overlooking the Vegas Strip.
The movie is more like a filmed play. All the action — what little there is — and the talk — a lot of that — takes place in the suite. The man (Mike Faiola) and the woman (Sarah Harper) are the only characters in this story, which is really a metaphor about wealth, capitalism and privilege.
The man is first seen butt naked standing on his balcony overlooking the strip. We first see the woman waking up in bed. She prepares to leave, but he offers her more and more money to stay — first for the day, then for the entire weekend.
They spend most of the 84-minute movie discussing various subjects and trading philosophies and lies. It all grows rather tiresome after a while. But you know a shoe is going to drop, you just don’t know when, why or how.
Meanwhile, the two debate the existence of God and the marketing of religion. They give each other pretend names and occupations as a mechanism to speak freely, especially the man — who seems to have some psychological issues about trust and money.
As the weekend progresses, the man and woman seem to break down each other’s defenses and appear to get to know each other for who they really are. He seems to be falling for her, while she acts concerned and understanding.
Harper stands out more than Faiola. She’s a bit cynical, yet also appealing. She is a good listener — a must, you’d think, for a woman of her profession. Faiolais more needy, whiny and frustrating. You really can’t feel anything for him. And when it is revealed that he has been alone in that hotel room for nearly three weeks, it does not shock you at all.
What saves the movie is its finale — a wonderful twist in which Harper totally transforms her character’s demeanor. The premise of writer-director Adam Mervis’ story is a bit muddled. Is it a critique of capitalism, a criticism of the abuses of wealth or a case study of earning money vs. skating through life on the shoulders of others?
It seems to be a little of each. Still, though it is frustrating at times, “The Last Days of Capitalism” is accomplished, intelligent and cunning.
I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 4K UHD, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook at ReelBob.com or the Indiana Film Journalists Association. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.