The Last September

on April 21, 2000 by Susan Green
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   Even nifty actors like Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon apparently cannot rescue an ill-conceived film from ruin. A self-important Irish period piece that amounts to very little in the end, "The Last September" should at least offer glorious images of 1920s County Cork. But director Deborah Warner keeps returning to the same trite camera angles to tackle an account of misplaced affection.
   A British soldier (David Tennant) is courting the flighty young Lois (Keeley Hawes), who lives at the country estate of her uncle (Gambon) and his wife (Smith). Lois is smitten with a houseguest (Lambert Wilson) although he's married to Francie (the always stilted Jane Birkin) and in love with Marda (Fiona Shaw). The moral quagmire threatens to sink them all when a rebel fighter (Gary Lydon) shows up.
   It's a lot of plot and this is a movie too in love with itself to make much sense.    Starring Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Fiona Shaw, David Tennant, Keeley Hawes, Lambert Wilson, Jane Birkin and Gary Lydon. Directed by Deborah Warner. Written by John Banville. Produced by Yvonne Thunder. A Trimark release. Historical drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 100 min. Opens February 2000.
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