The magic of storytelling is not in the bare-bones plot. If it was, Hollywood would have bored us to tears by now; basic themes like love and loss have been told time and time again. The magic is in the way that the classic, familiar tale is retold. Last Night is nothing new; at its heart, it's the tale of two people in a struggling marriage who flirt with the idea of cheating over the span of one night. But The Jacket scribe Massy Tadjedin, in her directorial debut, takes this simple premise and infuses it with such subtlety and depth that it should be a guideline for what separates a tired story from an engaging new adventure.
Lit with warm hues and the shadowy feel of night, the film focuses on Michael (Sam Worthington) and Joanna (Keira Knightley) Reed. The two are living the typical marriage of convenience -- relatively happy, but free of the real passion that keeps couples fueled for years. They are, however yanked out of their bland complacency at a work party. Joanna spots Michael in an intimate moment with his beautiful co-worker Laura (Eva Mendes). Though he's aloof and distant with her, Michael is all smiles and flirty bashfulness with Laura. Joanna confronts her husband after the party, and in a case of typical deflection, he blows her concerns off as jealous exaggeration. That is, until he's worn down and admits that he IS attracted to his co-worker. Unfortunately, the timing is particularly bad; that morning, he must go away with Laura on a business trip.