THE LAST SUPPER (1995)

Here's a hypothetical: Having traveled back in time to 1909, you make the acquaintance of an erratic art student named Adolf Hitler. Would you kill a then innocent man to prevent the slaughter he would later instigate? Ok, here's a harder one for you. It's 1996, and you're a well-meaning liberal. You make the acquaintance of an erratic radio announcer named Rush Limbaugh. Would you murder the mouthpiece of the Far Right in order to deter the carnage he may possibly be inflicting on the body politic?

Such are the moral ambiguities facing the five Left-leaning Iowans of The Last Supper. Like many contemporary liberals, these concerned Gen-Xers feel powerless in the face of conservative talk-show polemics and community-entrenched intolerance. However, when their weekly dinner discussion culminates in the accidental murder of a stark, raving neo-Nazi guest (Bill Paxton), the five unwittingly stumble onto a novel, efficient, and diabolically satisfying form of political activism -- burying the competition. Soon enough, our progressive protagonists are empowering themselves by playing God weekly -- wining, dining, and poisoning rabid conservatives (such as Charles Durning, Mark Harmon, and Jason Alexander) with unconcealed relish.

In its favor, this black comedy's wry spin on the Culture Wars starts well and stays relatively balanced throughout, lampooning proportionally the excesses of Left and Right. Unfortunately, however, much of The Last Supper is a one-trick pony -- as the burial plots mount and the bleeding hearts harden, the plot development stalls. Only in the Hitchcockian finale, when our five debased liberals set their sights on a popular Rush-style pundit (Ron Perlman), does the movie recapture the satirical edge of its first few supper scenes. Fans of Crossfire and Primary Colors, go ahead and dig into The Last Supper. Everyone else, this cold dish may not be par for the course.

[First Draft appeared in Harvard Independent, 1995.]

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