(2021) Drama (Hello Charles) Hugo de Sousa, Bergdis Julia Johannsdottir, Lilja ɒorisdottir, Joi Johannsson, Elizabeth Austin, Gunnar Ragnarsson, Raul Portero, Reynir Ingvason, Kolbrun Erna Petursdottir, Ylfa Marie Haraldsdottir. Directed by Mylissa Fitzsimmons
I don’t know why it’s so hard to make a good movie about the end of the world. Very few have succeeded, possibly because the subject is so grim it’s hard to even contemplate. Facing our own mortality is never easy, but facing the end of any sort of future for the human race – unthinkable, but given how much we’ve abused this planet, it might be something that bears contemplation.
Young Paulo (de Sousa) is stranded in a small town in Iceland. He, like everybody else, is aware that the planet is about to fall victim to a cataclysm that is going to end all life in a few days. He is Portuguese but doesn’t seem particularly heartbroken about not being able to return home. Instead, he tries to form bonds with everyone else he meets, from a sweet English expat (Austin) to a terrified young single mother (Johannsdottir) to an innkeeper who seems resigned to the coming cataclysm (Ragnarsson).
That’s essentially it for the movie, other than stunning shots of Icelandic country side and endless, repetitive shots of the ocean crashing on the rugged shore. It feels like the filmmaker looked at this movie as an opportunity to spend some time in Iceland and forgot to bring a script with her. Everything seems so flat and without emotion. There is little hysteria (one person drowns themself) and most people seem to just go on with life even as the hours count down.
There should be some profound insight about the fragility and wonder of life, but I really didn’t see any. There are a lot of pretentious utterings and little emotional impact to the film, not enough to sustain anyone’s interest. One gets the sense of a party coming to an end and everyone headed home without much in the way of regret. I don’t know if it was because I saw this at home and not with an audience, but I just didn’t connect with this film at all; it just felt as lifeless and dull as what was awaiting the cast at the end of the movie. When the end finally came, it was more of an “oh well” than an “ah shit.” That seems to me to be a lame epitaph. This was one of the most disappointing films I’ve ever seen at the Florida Film Festival.
REASONS TO SEE: Some beautiful cinematography.
REASONS TO AVOID: Pretentious as all get out. Barely over an hour long, it still felt padded.
FAMILY VALUES: There is profanity and adult themes.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: This is the debut narrative feature film for Fitzsimmons.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 5/3/2021: Rotten Tomatoes: No score yet; Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
FINAL RATING: 4/10
NEXT: The Paper Tigers