Where Elephant's kids are unwitting lambs to the slaughter, Blake knows as well as we do the foregone conclusion. Last Days' blurred sense of interior and exteriorits living-death conception of limbobrings to mind another American masterpiece (with which it could have exchanged titles): Jarmusch's Dead Man, whose enigmatic hero happens to be called William Blake. Sacred allusions abound: the waterfall baptism (or final ablution?), the Mormon callers, the devotional ecstasy of the featured songs, and above all the climactic separation of body and skyward-bound soul. Not unlike William Blake, Van Sant risks religiosity and arrives at spiritual clarityin a ghostly afterimage that transcends both the Christian notion of Ascension and the rock cliché of the stairway to heaven. Pointedly contradicting Cobain's Neil Youngquoting suicide note, Blake doesn't burn outhe fades away.
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