13th Jul2023

‘Last Sentinel’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Kate Bosworth, Lucien Laviscount, Martin McCann, Thomas Kretschmann | Written by Malachi Smyth | Directed by Tanel Toom

Set about 40 years from the present day, Last Sentinel follows a platoon of four soldiers who are stranded on a military base waiting for relief. This world is now covered in water with only two land masses, who are now at war. Now three months past their duty time, the soldiers are wondering whether the relief will come at all, or if it is the enemy who will find them first.

There is plenty to enjoy about Last Sentinel. Right from the first few seconds you can see that it either has a decent budget or the small budget is used very well. I can only assume that much of it was shot at sea but even the shots where we don’t see the ocean, you really do feel like they are stuck in the middle of nowhere. You can feel the rain splashing down on the characters and the bleakness of their isolation.

Of course, none of this would work without good performances, but thankfully the four leads here are really really good. Kate Bosworth, Lucien Laviscount, Martin McCann and Thomas Kretschmann all impress. They have a wealth of experience between them and it shows. Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns, Before I Wake) plays the only female role of note, and it’s a character that could have easily have been forgotten. But she does a good job of making that character feel important and not blending into the background. Laviscount (Emily In Paris, Snatch, Bye Bye Man) might be less experienced but brings plenty to his role too and the most experienced man, Kretschmann – who has having a great year with this, Infinity Pool and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – plays the villain of the film. Tough and stern, his character could be just ‘one note’ but he adds layers to it and you’ll rightfully feel some sympathy for this villain. Lastly, McCann (Calibre, Marcella) puts in my favourite performance of the movie. There’s a bit of Bradley Cooper about him in the performance and he steals many of the scenes he is in.

I liked that this was a different take on the future setting. Set in the 2060s, this doesn’t feature flying cars or advanced technology of any sort. This is a world destroyed by human mistakes and climate change. Sci-fi doesn’t have to be all the same to be entertaining and Last Sentinel goes some way to showing this. The ending goes in a slightly unexpected direction but for the most part, like the script as a whole, things are kept relatively simple. And this is no bad thing.

Despite his inexperience – this being only his second full-length feature – director Tanel Toom (Truth and Justice) shows that even with a modest budget, if you pick the right cast and have a solid script, you can make interesting and entertaining sci-fi. He’ll be a director to look out for in the future.

*** 3/5

Last Sentinel is out now on digital from (Yet) Another Distribution Company and 101 Films.


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