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      Last Resort
    "Resort" wear and tear

    Getting trapped in a wretched refugee holding area takes its toll on a Russian mother and son seeking asylum in England, in the educational and compassionate "Last Resort."


    (Also see review by Offoffoff's David Butterworth.)

    When Tanya steps off the plane in London, she might think she's never left Moscow. The pretty single mom can't get past immigration with her $85, her son, and her story about meeting her British fiance, so she comes up with a spur-of-the-moment plan: demand political asylum in order to buy time, call her fiance, and live happily ever after. She has no idea what a big mistake this will turn out to be.

    Directed by: Pawel Pawlikowski.
    Written by: Roland Joffe, Pawel Pawlikowski.
    Cast: Dina Korzun, Artyom Strelnikov, Paddy Considine, Lindsey Honey, Dave Bean, Perry Benson, Adrian Scarborough.
    In English and some Russian with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    The next hour and a half is a tragic but quite educational tour of the Western countries' refugee process. Tanya is given a flat in a dingy, communist-gray apartment complex and informed she can't leave for the 18 months it will take to process her case. In the area, she meets a seemingly helpful shop owner named Alfie, who eventually admits that he's an ex-con and warns her that the refugee zone is crawling with low-lifes like him. She thinks he must have been forced to live there, like her and her son, after his release from prison.

    "No, I came here," he explains. "This town's full of people like me — fuck-ups."

    The area is indeed full of black-marketeers, juvenile delinquents, pimps, pornographers, and thieves, preying on the captive refugees who can't work legally and are left to survive only on a small government stipend. Her son, particularly, shows the effects of his environment, quickly taking to both Alfie at his business and the bad crowd of kids that haunts the area.

    "Last Resort" uses this one small story to illustrate the larger effects of "Fortress Europe," the nickname for the idea that the new European Union will close in on itself and turn its back on outsiders, including those fleeing persecution. Despite their rights to protection under international law, these people are actively discouraged from entering Europe or the United States, and here too (as close as Elizabeth) we've had the kind of shocking conditions that are shown in the movie. "Last Resort" carries a lot of weight with the personalized story of a few little people caught in the system.

    FEBRUARY 26, 2001

    Reader comments on Last Resort:

  • [no subject]   from , Apr 10, 2002
  • [no subject]   from , Apr 27, 2002
  • titel   from annelies, Oct 28, 2003
  • [no subject]   from musa f sheriff, Feb 8, 2005
  • A Very Good British Movie   from nepali Guy, Apr 15, 2007
  • good   from kayla, Jun 2, 2008

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