As someone relatively new to nonnarrative films this was initially not the easiest to get into but once I did a little research I've come to really appreciate both Jarman and the genre. An interesting collection of voices and visuals much characteristic of Jarman. While not having a "story" like more traditional films The Last of England invokes Jarman's feelings on Cold War England and homoerotic imagery.
Jarman creates a fast, angry and sometimes also disturbing collage, using different visual and acoustic materials. It is one of my favorite examples for the power of the audiovisual montage created by different grades of density.
Jarman's then timely attack on Thatcherism was a fascinating experimental non-linear ride that still proves effective near 30 years later. Lashing out figuratively at militarism, blind patriotism and even the monarchy Jarman's frustration at Thatcher's impact on Britain is keenly felt.
The Last of England bears testament to the power of post-production. This is a film of inchoate fragments assembled into a fairly coherent whole, buttressed by a formidable sound design. Jarman was a longtime 8mm documenter of underground goings on, and he owes a lot to the American avant-garde. This is a movie unthinkable without the precedence of the likes of Kenneth Anger and Jonas Mekas. Probably a bit dated.
This is the type of film that I would sit down to watch in a dark room at an art gallery, enjoy it for 5 minutes, get up and go see something else. But to watch the whole thing in one sitting, that I just can't do. 20 mins in and the dissonant sounds and images became too redundant and tiresome for me. I appreciate the idea and I get the message, but it's not for me.
Experimental work from Jarman that left me completely underwhelmed. I recognize that some will love experimental "film" and so this is a movie for them. Not for me. It's just a mix of really great visuals with some really terrible visuals. Some really great editing with some really awful editing. I didn't get the theme that everyone else is pointing to. Didn't surface for me at all. Not my bag in any way.