Last Life in the Universe (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Last Life in the Universe (2004)



Critic Consensus: Strange and languid but with purpose, Last Life in the Universe sees two memorably quirky characters navigate love and violence across multiple movie genres.

Last Life in the Universe Photos

Movie Info

Thai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang directs the character-driven drama Last Life in the Universe, co-written by first-time screenwriter Prabda Yoon. Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) is a Japanese man living in Bangkok. He lives a tidy, silent lifestyle fueled by the detached desire to kill himself. Meanwhile, Noi (Sinitta Boonyasak) is a pot-smoking call girl who lives in a messy house just outside Bangkok. She tries to teach herself to speak Japanese with hopes of moving to Osaka. One day, Kenji walks into his apartment as his brother Yukio (Yutaka Matsushige) is involved in a gun fight with gangster Takashi (Riki Takeuchi). Then Kenji accidentally witnesses the death of Noi's lovely sister, Nid (Laila Boonyasak), with whom he first became smitten at the library. Having nowhere to go, Kenji goes to live with Noi for a few days, leading to the development of a strange and sensitive relationship. With cinematography by Hong Kong-based photographer Christopher Doyle. Last Life in the Universe won an Upstream Prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.


Junko Nagasawa
as Librarian
Akiko Anraku
as Japanese Housewife
Noritoshi Urano
as Salaryman
Phimchanok Nala Dube
as Girl in Jon's Apartment
Umpol Ratwong
as Jon's Underling
Jakrarin Sanitti
as Jon's Underling
Songsith Visunee
as Old Man on the Bus
Prayoon Tiancharoenwong
as Old Man at Outdoor Bar
Jakrapan Ruttajak
as Security Guard
View All

Critic Reviews for Last Life in the Universe

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (17)

It's an offbeat romance that defies easy labeling, recommendable as a film buff's pleasure and a semi-audacious art-house curio.

October 1, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

[Reflects] the growing interpenetration of many individual national cinemas into a cultural conglomerate that reflects the irresistible tide of cinematic globalization.

October 1, 2004

The film has a precise, slow pace that allows us to get to know these quiet, quirky characters, and an imaginatively experimental approach to their thoughts and dreams.

September 17, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

An absorbing series of intricately planned shots that play like installation art at a modern museum.

September 17, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

There is some lovely filmmaking here, and nice surprises.

August 20, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The Thai locales, the stars and Doyle's expressive cinematography add up to a disarmingly seductive yet always precarious film experience.

August 19, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Last Life in the Universe

This one was quite a light film as opposed to what I was expecting. The story is odd, but not appealing enough. Slightly slowly paced, this flick is neither serious (dark and interesting) nor an out and out entertainer. Watchable, but not a must watch.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Nice dreamlike atmosphere & beautiful images by Doyle but the film suffers from overusing the indie spirit cliches, It could have been a lot better & could have had a lot more to offer

Arash Xak
Arash Xak

Super Reviewer


With Christopher Doyle's unrivalled cinematography this is a film that always looks good no matter what its flaws may be. A seen it before plot is handled in a much quiter than usual way. Language barriers are gradually broken down to make way for more misunderstandings in a very bittersweet film. Not particularly easy to like, it is however impossible to hate. Asano adds another fantastic credit to his filmography.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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