As a snapshot of social activists, protest movements and political campaigns in turn-of-the-century America, "Last Party 2000" is insufficiently focused but undeniably intriguing. Free-wheeling docu offers actor Philip Seymour Hoffman as genial host, skeptical interrogator and increasingly cynical narrator during a six-month cross-country journey.

As a snapshot of social activists, protest movements and political campaigns in turn-of-the-century America, “Last Party 2000″ is insufficiently focused but undeniably intriguing. Free-wheeling docu offers actor Philip Seymour Hoffman as genial host, skeptical interrogator and increasingly cynical narrator during a six-month cross-country journey that begins with the Republican and Democratic conventions, continues through Florida electoral controversies and concludes with the inauguration of a president who — as filmmakers Donovan Leitch and Rebecca Chaiklin pointedly emphasize — lost the popular vote. Pic feels slightly dated in wake of post-9/11 attitudinal shifts, but merits cable exposure primarily for its glimpses at under-reported stories behind the Big Story of 2000.

Of particular interest is footage of violent confrontations between protestors and police during conventions of both major political parties. Clashes received scant coverage by mainstream press, so it’s mildly shocking to witness the intensity of skirmishes. “Last Party” clearly sympathizes with views espoused by Bill Maher, Ralph Nader, Michael Moore and other interviewees — i.e., there’s little difference between Democrats and Republicans on socioeconomic issues — but makes at least token effort to include varying points of view.

Last Party 2000

Production

A Palisades Pictures production in association with Camouflage. Produced by Stanley Buchthal, Rebecca Chaiklin, Leah Culton. Executive producers, Vincent Roberti, John Kilik, Henri Kessler. Directed by Donovan Leitch, Rebecca Chaiklin.

Crew

Camera (color, Beta-SP), Ben Weinstein, Luke Geissbuhler, Carter Smith, Kevin Ford; editor, Sabine Hoffman; music, Sue Jacobs. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, April 8, 2002. (In South by Southwest Film Festival, Austin, Texas.) Running time: 82 MIN.
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