Edinburgh Bites: Everyone’s Going to Die Review

Mike Scurfield catches Everyone’s Going to Die at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Mike Scurfield catches Everyone’s Going to Die at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Being stuck in a rut and the formation of unlikely friendships are common ground for indie cinema, yet this desert-dry comedy from the UK filmmaking collective known only as Jones, makes smart use of its arid dialogue and features two perfectly-pitched lead performances that hold interest despite the intentionally melancholic pace.

Twenty-something Melanie (Nora Tschirner) can’t seem to get her life going. Trapped in a languid British seaside town, she wanders around listening to music, hoping to bump into a purpose or direction. Instead, she crosses paths with Ray (Rob Knighton), a mysterious, black-suited older man who is in town ‘for work’ and seemingly going through a similar crisis. The pair spend an odd, thoughtful couple of days together that include competitive shoplifting, multiple visits to a cafe with poor service, and attending the wake of Ray’s brother (who may, or may not, have been reincarnated as a house cat). Though both are in relationships, a bond of mutual support ties them together, as they learn that it’s never too late to start over.

Much of the joy in this confidently directed, elegantly framed dissection of life and loneliness derives from Tschirner and Knighton batting their deadpan lines back and forth. Appearing almost standoffish at first, Everyone’s Going to Die is a slow-cooker film that takes a little time to warm to, but is well worth the wait. Here serving as writers, editors and directors, Jones have said their filmmaking was inspired by In Search of a Midnight Kiss, which this resembles but with an added dose of British sarcasm and a post-Juno knowing eye-roll (Aubrey Plaza for Melanie in the American remake).

As such, it has fun with narrative conventions: “I feel like I should say something important”, is all Ray can manage at the film’s apex moment. But it shows its true soul in a simple, single-shot scene in which Melanie denounces the commonplace notion of ‘do what you love’ as “a pandoras box”. An intelligent, quirky, and blackly funny British film about finding yourself, with an unexpectedly low body count, given the title.

Mike Scurfield

Updated: Jul 09, 2013

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