A typical English film. Meaning it features a rather small story, is filled with quirky moments, involves no action sequences, and features strong acting. Gillies MacKinnon’s (Pure, The Playboys) film is about an older widower who embarks on a bus trip across Britain in order to fulfill a promise to his deceased wife. Does not exactly draw you in at first read, does it? Well, while this is certainly not an arm of your seat gripper, it does have its moments.
Though he is not the first British actor who springs to mind, Timothy Spall is one of the most respected actors from that part of the world. The 64-year-old has had a film career that has spanned six decades. He has built a career as a character actor and has starred in films like Alice Through the Looking Glass, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, The King’s Speech, The Damned United, Chicken Run, Secrets & Lies, Quadrophenia, and Enchanted. An actor’s actor. Meaning he is admired within the acting community but his name is not really known by the public. But in film after film he turns in a great performance.
A free bus pass is a retired widower’s means to an end. What is pushing him forward is his promise to Mary (Phyllis Logan – from television’s Downton Abbey). (Timothy Spall – Mr. Turner, Vanilla Sky) will use the pass to travel the whole of Britain from Scotland to Cornwall in England. He wants to undertake the trip in order to fulfill a promise he made to his deceased wife.
Despite the fact that this former soldier is 90-years-old, Tom leaves his home for the past 50 years which is situated in a remote area in a small town in the north of Scotland. He has planned the whole trip out from bus routes to places he will stay. The end goal of the trip is to return to the place he was born, which is at the southernmost point of England. As you might suspect, this is not going to be as simple as Tom suspects nor as direct a path. It will, however, show that at any age learning about the world continues.
A film can be sad and heartwarming at the same time. The proof is in this particular pudding. Here is a man towards the end of his life embarking on a journey to deal with his loss and grief. Tom gets out of his sheltered life onto a voyage which shows him that there are many different types of people in the world. A whole new world is opened to him on buses throughout Great Britain. Very touching to what this older man’s eyes open to what has always been out there.
The Last Bus has been released in select theatres as well as on VOD platforms.