Last Sentinel (2023) Review – Toom’s refusal to pick a side ruins this thriller’s potential

By Marc Miller
Published: June 3, 2023
2023 film Last Sentinel Review


The Last Sentinel’s refusal to pick a side is its downfall.

Here is our review of the 2023 film Last Sentinel, which does not contain significant spoilers or any plot twists.

We have seen a rise in films in various genres that focus on themes of the struggle with isolation. From the deeply meaningful The Nest in the 2020s to the exaggerated use of a Dune-like setting in the criminally underrated Settlers, these films are forming a subgenre of their own.

These themes naturally build tension and set the tone for a thriller like Last Sentinel, which squanders its gripping storytelling for a spineless finale.

Last Sentinel (2023) Review and Plot Summary

Last Sentinel follows four members of a crew working in a bastion that holds a super weapon called “Martha” in the middle of a world war. It’s 2063, and there are only two continents left, which are at war on the planet after catastrophic climate changes have caused rising sea levels, altered weather patterns, and skyrocketing temperatures (sound familiar?).

Led by their boss, Sgt. Hendrichs (a terrific Thomas Kretschmann) and his right hand, Cpl. Cassidy (Kate Bosworth), the remaining members of their crew, Pvt. Sully (Emily in Paris heartthrob Lucien Laviscount) and Baines (Calibre‘s Martin McCann)spot a ship entering their waters called the Aurora.

However, when they board the boat, it’s mysteriously empty, and the crew has vanished.

Under the direction of Tanel Toom, his film benefits from a surprisingly gripping script by writer Malachi Smyth. The film has three well-drawn and well-paced acts, building tension and taking subtle yet satisfying turns.

Much of that can be attributed to the riveting performances by Kretschmann and McCann, who set the high-strung tension throughout most of the picture.

The story begins to fall apart in the third act when the script suddenly becomes aloof. Additionally, characters drop off as the film adheres to specific genre rules. While I am trying very hard to be circumspect, we are left with the two least interesting characters, causing Last Sentinel to lose steam and some backbone.

However, we can recognize that a limited budget prevents a bolder ending.

Is the 2023 film Last Sentinel good or bad?

The Last Sentinel is not bad. It’s just not good enough to recommend based on the problems of its final act and hopeful conclusion that doesn’t ring true.

To make my point, the plot of why the Aurora was floating at sea becomes obvious but should have worked more in the film’s favor. The film’s biggest downfall is the ending’s refusal to take a stand.

Is the 2023 Last Sentinel worth watching?

The Last Sentinel is worth watching within narrow parameters, especially if you enjoy the thriller genre and appreciate a reasonable amount of tension and tone without excessive action.

With Toom’s gripping storytelling throughout the first ninety minutes, it can be worth renting for casual film fans. However, be prepared for disappointment with its gutless conclusion.

What did you think of the 2023 film Last Sentinel? Comment below.

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