Last Resort

Director/Writer:Pawel Pawlikowski
Shooting Gallery; NR; 75 minutes
Cast:Dina Korzun, Paddy Considine, Artiom Strelnikov

Last year an estimated half-million illegal immigrants entered Europe hoping for a better life. Displaced by language, land, and culture, their stories often remain untold. Last Resort narrates one immigrant's tale with grit and hope.

Russian illustrator Tanya (Dina Korzum) and her streetwise son Artiom (Artiom Strelnikov) expatriate, expecting to be met up by her “fiancée” at the U.K. border. The man doesn't show, forcing Tanya to plead political asylum rather than face deportation. Bureaucratic processing will take over a year, so the family must struggle to survive—without any legal jobs—in a gloomy coastal town that serves as an immigrant holding ground.

Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski comes from a documentary background, and it shows. Last Resort is a modest, excellently executed character movie placed into a topical political setting. Tanya eventually finds work with a smarmy Internet pornographer (played by real-life smut peddler Lindsey Honey). The exploitative interests are counterbalanced by efforts of a world-weary bingo caller named Alfie (Paddy Considine). Alfie takes the battered mother and surly son under his broken but protective wing. Ultimately uplifting, Last Resort conveys Tanya's rich humanity (which officials in British naturalization system readily ignore).

The Shooting Gallery opens Last Resort screenings with “Heart of the World,” a brief short by Canadian filmmaker Guy Madden. Intense, exhilarating, and original, it's the perfect prelude to the Pawlikowski's naturalistic song.

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