As this film finishes, one feels that no words can justly convey the unsettling beauty this unique piece of art possesses. Directed by the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, it may have been considered unfinished at the time of his death but the editing work is seamless: you’d never guess it wasn’t considered a complete piece of art. Jóhann’s creative prowess obviously extends further than his music; it is a tragedy that we dill never see or hear anything from this man.

The score’s power is amplified exponentially by the very real shots of stone monuments that were built in what was Yugoslavia. The gradual, purposeful direction of the images and how they connect with the sound has been done with obvious care, resulting in a powerful experience.

It feels sadly fitting then that this in the film that Johann will be remembered for, and it is incredible. It is certainly not a conventional film, as rather than using an existing structure, Johann creates his own world, each stone monument studied using minimal camerawork and very slow use of zoom.

Literally a meditative experience, the pulse of the film feels reminiscent of the slight alteration of consciousness one can feel after a long period of meditation. Like most of his scores, a high quality subwoofer is essential to enjoy this as intended, including the physical sensations that are a result of his sonic exploration.

In some ways, this score is a departure from his well known scores, Arrival , Mandy and Sicario perhaps the most well known. As well as writing with Yair Elazar Glotman, the thick atmosphere rarely falls often due to the unexpected emotive string and choir sections who create an overwhelming atmosphere that at times feels desperate and lonely.

The grainy 16mm grainy black and white presentation of old monuments somehow looks futuristic and otherworldly, apt considering Tilda Swinton’s unwavering, emotionless narration of what the future of humanity looks like according to the novel of the same name.

It is an incredibly expansive sci-fi saga, yet Johann impressively strips it down to the bare essentials, doing it so well that you want to hear it again and/or immediately find the book to read yourself. His prose doesn’t waste a word.

His direction of the narration, music and images is executed with masterful rhythmic precision that becomes a powerful cinematic achievement and a testament to the creative mind that the man possessed.

Two years after his unexpected death, Last and First Men is, put simply, the perfection of minimalist artistic expression. Better yet, it is 70 minutes of quintessential Jóhann Jóhannsson.

6 Comments on “LAST AND FIRST MEN [2020]

    • bahahahaha, cunt rag. I’m stealing that one! 😀

      Only just saw this comment, it put a smile on my face but also challenged the constant ‘i can’t write for shit’ thoughts. That and the simple fact you realised I’d stopped blogging.. I dunno, its just a good feeling to see that you realised it 🙂

      As for that Carson POS, its a spam bot of some kind and telling wordpress that it is spam achieves nothing, its impossible to block. You can tell it’s not a real person because they never answer questions and comments are always random/out of context. Why it would be attracted to a site that probably averages three visits a week is beyond me though heh

      Hope you’re well dude, I’ll have to catch ya on messenger some time soon. I’ve had a rough year with my physical health which of course then has a knock on effect for mental health. I blocked out the outside world almost entirely to fully immerse myself in my music and soon I hope to be scoring indie PC games, but cos I want to study next year I need to get my shit together

      peace dude, take care


      • He’s 100% a real person. He goes around trolling on a lot of sites with these comments about children’s programming, I’m not really sure what his deal is but I suspect he’s not totally there in the head. It’s fine, this is a free community and everything but I am sick and tired of him commenting on my comments and blogs about, well, yeah, movies and TV shows geared for kids. He’s a total annoyance but I guess in the end, harmless.


  1. Not to argue or anything, but cos it is so consistently about the wiggles and kid shit is exactly why I think its a bot – if it were a real person there would one insult, one remotely human-like comment yknow? But there is nothing like that, its all spam.

    Add that to the fact that it gets around supposed spam protection every time without fail… I guess it just activates that cynical part of me over analyses shit like this too much. But the fact the comments are impossible to block despite seeming to come from the same account all seems a bit suspect to me.

    Why I see comments from whatever/whoever on is this graveyard of a blog is even more confusing!!


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