When hubby-to-be doesn't show up, Tanya declares herself a refugee to avoid being immediately sent back to Moscow, then finds herself imprisoned in an urban gulag -- actually an abandoned seaside resort with roller coasters and video arcades that's been converted to a refugee camp.
Everything is difficult in the "resort." Simply making a telephone call involves long waits and convoluted instructions, gangs and duplicity lurk around every corner, and the local fried fish turns out to be just batter. With no money and nowhere to go to earn any, Tanya gets involved with the local pornographer (Lindsey Honey -- a real-life king of British porn), and we feel she's pretty much scraping bottom.
Luckily, Tanya is befriended by Alfie (the very entertaining Paddy Considine, A Room for Romeo Brass), the local arcade manager, who takes the Russian duo under his wing. What results is a tiny romance, held together with a story about compassion and perseverance.
Written and directed by the Polish Pawel Pawlikowski, the film is somewhat autobiographical and is extremely apt in its storytelling ability. While the resort itself is relatively benign, Pawlikowski imbues it with a subtle horror through creepy set designs that connote a carnival funhouse and washed-out lighting that turns everything greenish. Korzun lets us truly feel her struggle, emoting with a brilliance rarely seen in Hollywood.
Altogether, Last Resort is a small movie, with simple themes and a running time slightly longer than your typical episode of ER. However, it carries far more power than any old TV show -- and most other movies, to boot.
Run time: 60 mins
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
IMDB: 7.5 / 10
Director: Paul Pavlikovsky
Producer: Ruth Caleb