‘The Last Tree’ — hypnotic work of a natural-born filmmaker
Shola Amoo creates images of poetic power in his part-autobiographical tale of growing up
The Last Tree, a part-autobiographical British film written and directed by Anglo-Nigerian Shola Amoo, is the work of a natural-born moviemaker. Parts of it are as awesome as Moonlight. The images, rhythms and grace notes — eerie tracking shots, sighs and flickers of slow motion, sonic throbs and soarings on the soundtrack — breathe like landscapes.
The early scenes of Femi (Tai Golding) living a preteen idyll in rural Lincolnshire with his foster mum, have a rapture of vision. The boy’s eyes are so large they take in everything. We share his love of the rustling trees and chorusing winds. There is magic in the repeated shot of a green field cradled by a yellower foreground’s bowl-like arc, like the child’s own soul rocking in the cradle of childhood.