A filmmaker a little bit conscientious, and a fortiori of Sean Penn, what is required above all is that we inflict a piece of propaganda pumped full of good feelings. His previous films had as default to insist a little too heavily on the pathos of the story (close-ups on eyes, wet by tears, zoom in to emphasize a shock, etc) but it was not until now that a condition lourdingue for its characters. With THE LAST FACE, Sean Penn signed the first advertisement for an NGO disguised as a blockbuster lacrimal.

THE LAST FACE tells the impossible love between two doctors sent by the association Doctors of the World in armed conflict in Africa. The film opens and closes on a speech from Dr. Peteren (Charlize Theron) who asks her lover (the Dr. Leon, played by Javier Bardem) : “why should we entertain them so that they listen to us ?” If the sentence refers to the hearing that night for the collection of donations, one cannot help but think that Sean Penn speaks directly to us, requesting that we give, for any cause whatsoever, to any organization. This feeling is reinforced when Dr. Petersen is waiting for her plane in an airport, shaken by the events she just went through, and opened his wallet to the first person to come ask him for “good cause.” The girl in front of Charlize Theron will not even have time to finish his sentence, we know not where it comes from or who it claims to save.

In the first minutes of the film we want to believe that this party “right-of-hommiste” swelled that to be better deflated. We would like to see Sean Penn gives us a portrait of vitriol of humanitarian political parties on a whim with the syndrome of Don Quixote. But no, he is very serious, he really wants to save the world and we inflict so 2h12 of sentimentalism distressing to persuade us of the merits of the ideals of our two lovebirds. The imaging pessimistic gives the film like a TV spot against the famine in Biafra. Zoom in on injuries, deformities and horrors alternate as well on close-ups of the two lead actors, very sad not to be in agreement on how to manage the conflict (“Darling, we have communication problems”). The form chosen by Sean Penn is doubly indecent : it undermines trust in the action of humanitarian and makes the artificial feeling of love. Not that it is believed impossible to love in a situation of armed conflict, even with all this blood around. Rather, it is that one does not believe their story as it is told, nor the advertising message of the film. How to be sad as a doctor leaves another one, then that one comes to see a man disemboweled ? How dwelling on the remorse of the one or the oedipus ill-digested of the other without saying “what selfish”. Too many want to force our empathy, THE LAST FACE to cause a violent rejection and immediate.

Beyond the plot and the staging of stench, Sean Penn doubles awkwardly in his words “We save the world” by a voice-over narration and dialogue written in the trowel ideological. The love story is then used as the argument to probe without finesse the depths of the human soul, of a sudden formulas convoluted that it looks like directly outputs a press release wooden language of the United Nations. Very surprisingly, the movie has several times the opportunity to criticize him-even this drift ideological, but consistently on track to better emphasise the extent to which these heroes without borders, to sacrifice, to save Humanity from itself (sic).

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The height of the ridiculous returning to some lines of dialogue that are reminiscent of an exchange of text messages between two teenagers vaguely cultured, but without the maturity to measure the significance of their words. We will remember the more comical : “he must not fuck her, but to love” dictated by a Dr. Love as subtle as a stone. Dr. Love, it is the name is so coarse the character of Jean Reno , who, like Adèle Exarchopoulos, is very pretty in the backgrounds, but only serves absolutely nothing.

With all these elements put end to end, it was enough to keep a great firebrand comic on the uselessness of NGOS, organizations, behind which our societies have gone into hiding to better to forget the misery of the world that is knocking at our doors. Sad to see that Sean Penn has taken the opposite exact of the farce that it presents to us, unwittingly, by taking very seriously the message stinking of THE LAST FACE. Alternating advertising imagery to NGOS and sentimentalism dripping of a love story which we will not care royally, THE LAST FACE is to see if only to finally understand that the great names of actors associated with a “message”, does not make a good film. THE LAST FACE is the symptom even a cinema goers in the process of folding in on itself. By highlighting the pseudo-morality rather than the intrinsic qualities of a film, in festivals such as Cannes become institutions well thinks that réifient an ideology without question the world around them. When will stop there to give the credit to movies under the pretext that they “denounce” something ? If only ridicule could kill, THE LAST FACE would be buried even before its release.

Thomas Coispel

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