Based on a Booker Prize winning novel by Graham Swift, Last Orders examines the way people express their grief when a close friend passes away. Jack (Michael Caine) dies, leaving behind his childhood friends (Bob Hoskins, David Hemmings and Tom Courtenay), a wife (Helen Mirren) and reserved son (Ray Winstone). His friends and son take his ashes to Margate, a two-hour drive outside of London. Along the way, through flashbacks, we learn of the complex roles that these men have played in each other’s lives. Although it is a heartbreaking ride, there is nothing morose about this movie. The old friends argue and tell jokes, remembering Jack in their own unique ways. The common thread being that while they are sad he died, they are even happier that he had lived and graced their lives. The superior acting skills of Hoskins, Hemmings, Courtenay and Winstone rescue the film from director Fred Schepisi’s languid direction. Helen Mirren (who doesn’t accompany the guys on their ash-scattering mission) shines in her scenes with her hospitalized daughter. If only Schepisi had picked up the pace a little this could have been a real winner. As it is Last Orders is only marginally recommended.