By Phil Hall | July 24, 2010

From the “What the hell were they thinking?” department comes this weird and unsatisfactory little film (which looks more like a videotaped record of a play performed in a black box theater). The story involves two very different women – a Jewish pediatrician who was witness to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and a peasant guerrilla leader from the 1980s civil war in El Salvador – who somehow meet after death in an unspecified dark space and talk about themselves and the effects of war on their worlds.  And they talk, and talk, and talk, and talk…

Mary Tahmin plays the doctor and Ana Mercedes Torres plays the guerrilla leader.  Both women are given the thankless task of carrying awkward soliloquies about war, love, suffering, sacrifice and girl power.  Even worse, both are constantly framed in too-tight close-ups that only magnify the theatrical insincerity of their bumbling performances.

Director/writer Neil Selden obviously intended this work to be a profound statement on the human condition, but instead he created a stagnant work of excessive monotony. The only thing that a viewer can do with these “Final Gifts” is take it back to a cinematic returns department for a refund.

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