the species of its louts. Louts may berntroubling, but filleting them wholesalernseems a trifle draconian. Besides, howrnappetizing would they be?rnThis kind of thing might work as comedyrnnoir; but the script, crafted by thernusually reliable David Mamet, is singularlyrnwifless, and the novel is even worse.rnHarris takes Lecter so seriously that hernhas him setting up house with Starling inrnthe last pages—the prince of evil marr}’-rning the princess of virtue. Call me bourgeois,rnbut I never did like William Blake’srnMarriage of Heaven and Hell, and I likernthis version even less.rnLast Resort, a very different kind of film,rnalso features a dinner, but it’s considerabl)-rnmore wholesome than Hannibal’s. Thernhost is a lower-class Brit named Alfiern(Paddy Considine), whose culinary aspirationsrnnever get more exotic than hidianrntakeout. Compared to the cultivatedrnLecter, however, Alfie exhibits a moralrncharacter that is immeasurably morernpalatable.rnAlfie lives in Stonehaven (actual!}-rnMargate), a seedy English seaside resortrntown where he manages a gaudy pier-sidernarcade. A former prizefighter of minorrndistinction, he seems as rough as his habitualrnday-old beard. But when a young,rndestitute Russian refugee and her 12-rnyear-old son happen upon his establishment,rnhe rises gallantly to their rescue.rnHe feeds them vindaloo and teaches thernboy the finer points of electronic pinball.rnHe’s not very cultivated, but his concernrnfor the two displaced people is sincere.rnThough his interest is at first provoked byrnthe woman’s comeliness, this chap is arnnatural gentleman and would never insistrnon a sexual quid pro quo for his assistance.rnAlthough the mother doesn’t respondrnat first to his romantic overturesrnand Alfie comes to suspect she never will,rnhe continues to help her and her son negotiaternthe various pitfalls of his workingclassrnneighborhood.rnWritten and directed by Polish documentarianrnPaul Pavlikovsky, Last Resortrndoesn’t have much of a plot, but its texturernis unusually compelling. It beginsrnwith Tanya (Dina Korzun), the mother,rnarriving at Heathrow Airport with her sonrnArtyom (Artyom Strelnikov). She hasrncome from Moscow expecting to bernmet by her fiance, but he never showsrnup. With only $85 to her name and nornprospects, she finds herself caught in therntoils of the British customs system. Afraidrnshe’ll be deported, she impulsively requestsrnpolitical asylum, only to find herselfrnpromptly bused to the aptly namedrnStonehaven, which ser’es as a “designatedrnholding area” for refugees. This scruff)’rntown features an abandoned amusementrnpark still emblazoned with a signrnreading “Dreamland Welcomes You.”rnThe dream, however, turns out to bernthoroughly Orwellian. She and her sonrnare assigned a ratty council flat inrna hideous poured-concrete high-rise.rnThey’re monitored everywhere they gornby cameras mounted on barbed-wirernfences. When she discovers they willrnhave to stay there for at least 12 to 18rnmonths, she tries to escape to London.rnSuddenly, police appear to tell her therernare no trains running to the citv. She’srntrapped in a bureaucratically contrivedrnlimbo all too reminiscent of the life shernhad known in Russia.rnMeanwhile, the men of the neighborhoodrnbegin to take notice of her. She’srnapproached by Les, who calls himselfrnMr. Stonehaven. With a show of oilyrnkindiress, he offers her work as a performerrnon his internet porn site. Study-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnWHO COULD HAVE GUESSED?rn”Priests of the Afro-Cuban Saiiteria religion have prophesied a potentialK’ turbulentrn2001 for Cuba and the worid, includiug .stormy weather, threat of war, migrator)’rnchaos, marriage woes and growing promiscuit)’.”rn^from “Santeria Priests Predict Stormy, Lust)’ 2001,”rnReuters (]amiarf 4, 200])rning her with a professional eye, he co.rneludes that she could portray an innoceirnschoolgirl type—a real draw for the pa’rning “punters” who, he proudly declare;rnuse his service around the globe. Meanrnwhile, Artyom has fallen in with some lorncal children, drinking and thieving withrnthem at night. Desperate, Tanya turns tornselling her blood—the one replenishablerncommodity the poor have to offer —tornnurses who circulate through the neighborhoodrnin a van.rnPavlikovsky’s critique of capitalismrngoes unspoken. He uses his camera tornsuggest that, while people may flee thernEast’s stifling socialism, the Wesfs freemarketrnalternative is little better. The s-^stemrnencourages people to package andrnmarket themselves. This implied moralrnequivalence between East and Westrnseems overly facile. But it’s a momentaryrnlapse that doesn’t subvert the film’s largerrnintentions. In the end, Pavlikovsky wantsrnto convince us that chivalry is still possiblernin our seemingly hardhearted, regimentedrnworld. Alfie’s no-strings decencyrndemonstrates what a good man of ordinaryrnmeans can accomplish when hernputs his mind to helping those less fortunaternthan himself Pavlikovsky doesn’trnmake the mistake of equating realismrnwith bleakness.rnThen there is Pavlikovsky’s extraordinaryrnvisual st)’le. Shooting his openingrnscenes in extreme closeup, he makes usrnfeel Tanya’s entrapment by having herrnand her son always seem to be pressingrnagainst the tight confines of the screen’srnframe. Later, they walk along the beachrnwith Alfie during a gale. In the background,rnwhite-capped waves scud relentlesslyrnin the opposite direction, and werncan see that these are people perpetuallyrnbattered by forces —natural and politicalrn—beyond their imderstanding. Perhapsrnthe most striking shot is one thatrnappears twice: Tanya and Artyom sit togetherrnin an airport shuttle tiain, silentK’rnleaning against one another, their facesrnimpassive as the vehicle whisks themrnalong. Pavlikovsky shoots them from belowrnwith their backs against the all-glassrnenclosure at the rear of the car. Theyrnseem to be sailing through empt)’ spacernentirely unsupported, utterly alone, andrnprofoundly vulnerable —a simple shotrnconveving instantly and devastatingly arnpoignancy nearly inexpressible in words.rnPavlikovsky is an artist who deservesrnour attention. I urge you to make thernLast Resort your first.rn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn