Cinema: Last Orders

Directed by Fred Schepisi

Jack the butcher (Michael Caine) is dead. His three pals and his adopted son (beautifully played by Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone) bibulously set forth to scatter his ashes in the sea. As they drive, flashbacks inform us of a life richer in complexity, coincidence and moral confusion than we might expect from a humble shopkeeper. Schepisi also wrote this patient adaptation of Graham Swift's Booker prizewinning novel, in which wry humor and even a certain sexiness break through the reserve of a rueful, realistic, but finally emotionally rewarding film. --By Richard Schickel

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