‘Last and First Men’ Review: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Posthumous Film Is a Dazzling Vision of the Apocalypse

‘Last and First Men’ Review: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Posthumous Film Is a Dazzling Vision of the Apocalypse
Jóhann Jóhannsson’s work as a film composer transcended expectations of the craft, not only supporting a filmmaker’s vision but clarifying its appeal. His dynamic, soul-churning music for “Sicario,” “Arrival” and “Mandy” reached for a visceral depth that suggested he might become one of the all-time greats. Sadly, the Icelandic talent died in 2018 at the age of 48, but not before completing one final achievement that elevated his artistry to a whole new level.

Last and First Men,” which Jóhannsson directed as a live multimedia performance prior to his death, has been finally completed as a singular 70-minute cinematic event. Guided by Jóhannsson’s ethereal score, this dazzling apocalyptic immersion blends cosmic 16mm black-and-white images of Yugoslavian architecture with a deadpan Tilda Swinton voiceover, resulting in a profound lyrical rumination on the end of days.

It’s also one of the most original science fiction movies in recent memory. “Last and First Men
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