Last Orders (2000) - Synopsis

last orders - synopsis headingFour old friends drift towards their favourite watering hole - The Coach and Horses, but this time they seem a little reluctant. Ray (Bob Hoskins), Vic (Tom Courtenay) and Lenny (David Hemmings) have gathered to fulfil the last order of their lifelong friend Jack (Michael Caine). The mood is quieter than usual as they raise a glass to Jack for the last time and brace themselves for their journey down to Margate, where they'll scatter his ashes off the pier of his favourite seaside town.

As the jar containing Jack's ashes sits on the bar, they contemplate how it's the same size as their pints of beer… Just then, a car horn sounds outside. It's Vince (Ray Winstone), or Big Boy as they all affectionately call him. Jack's son, a successful second hand car dealer, has agreed to be chauffeur for the day in a flash blue Mercedes. If they're gonna give Jack a proper send off, it has to be in style.

Jack's wife Amy (Helen Mirren) has decided not to join the pilgrimage to Margate, instead she's set out on a very significant journey of her own - a visit to their mentally handicapped daughter June (Laura Morelli).

The road trip begins and the gang reminisce. In a series of flashbacks, the emotional mystery unfolds, as they try to come to terms with Jack's death by reliving their life with him.

Stopping along the way to pay tribute to Jack in the way he'd most appreciate it (in the pub!), tension eventually builds to boiling point between Lenny and Vince when it's revealed that Big Boy made Sally, (Lenny's daughter) pregnant and ran off to the army.

Vince's anger is exacerbated by the painful recollection of Jack revealing he wasn't his real father and learning that Amy rescued him from a burning house when his own parents were killed during a bombing raid. Vince takes a detour, to Wick's Farm, and he and Lenny fight it out in the middle of the hop field where Jack and Amy first met before the war.

As they arrive at Canterbury Cathedral, Ray's mind is elsewhere… He's always secretly loved Amy, ever since Jack first showed him that black and white photo of her in his wallet during their army days in Egypt. For six weeks many years ago, Ray and Amy had an affair. Ray understood her and sympathised with her about June, where Jack failed to. He was her little ray of light… Maybe there's a second chance for them now?

By the time the group reach Margate, the wind and rain are lashing down on them. Their journey's complete and as they congregate on Margate Pier, each with and handful of Jack's ashes, they send him on his final journey, certain in the knowledge, that he was a catalyst in all of their lives and just as friends can break your heart… it's the same friends who can mend it.