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  Everyone's Going to Die You Need All The Help You Can GetBuy this film here.
Year: 2013
Director: Jones
Stars: Nora Tschirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley, Stirling Gallacher, Liberty Selby, Madeline Duggan, Eliza Harrison-Dine, Ellie Chidzey, Dimitrijs Burilov, Mark Kempner, Kylie Hutchinson, Jamie Chung, Ionut Paliev, Dizzy Mags, Reuben Perdios
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Melanie (Nora Tirschner) wakes up lying in a pool on a lilo, realises she hasn't got her bearings and falls into the water. Soon she has wandered into the house where the party was being held - she is dressed as Charlie Chaplin, so it must have been a costume party - and is pondering her next move. Phoning her fiancé might be a good idea, she has not seen him for a while, but all she can get is his answering service, that in spite of them supposedly being close, but perhaps Melanie is drifting through life as much as she did on the surface of that pool. She gets to talking to Ali (Kellie Shirley) who she meets in the house, but Melanie is not the sort to make vital connections with people. Until...

Well, until an older man visiting the seaside town where she is living pays for her coffee that morning, he being the mysterious Ray, who was played by former carpet fitter Rob Knighton, who all of a sudden in middle age found himself with a dramatic career change when he was spotted by a model agency. In turn this led to a line in acting where his Terence Stamp-style charm and looks made for a cheering success story in a "never too late" sort of way, and Everyone's Going to Die was probably his first high profile gig, though only relatively: it was released to a festival or two, was well received, but took two whole years before it secured a distribution deal, which said something about the British film industry.

Maybe nothing very encouraging, but at least it did get released, which was more than many productions left in limbo did. Whether it was worth the wait was another matter, an old bloke/young lady two hander for much of the time in an echo of Lost in Translation from a decade before, but not quite managing to distinguish itself away from company like that or your average Richard Linklater gabfest. Certainly the Jones collective who directed the movie had a nice eye for an atmospheric visual though by this stage finding a moody shot of a British seaside town was as much part of the nation's cinematic landscape as anything based in the cities, so they had noted the appeal of that material well and applied it to their odd couple almost-romance.

Was it a love story? That theme of meandering randomly through your existence was so prominent here that even when Melanie and Ray appear about to make a breakthrough in their emotions, the hazy presentation left you none too clear if that's where we were ending up, and it wasn't until the final shot, or just about, that we had an inkling which way their unexpected connection was going to turn. Fair enough, being vague in that concern never did Sofia Coppola any harm, but this didn't quite have the oomph that her last whispering a message in the ear did in Lost in Translation, and too often came across as precious. When it tried to be funny, it was less impressive, more arch than ribtickling, depending on the depth of the quirk on display.

Take the scene when reluctant mobster Ray takes Melanie to see his late brother's family, only to find themselves in a Wiccan ceremony which takes the form of a play the teenage niece has written. You have to assume this was meant to have the viewer rolling, but as it plays, culminating in Ray accidentally shooting the cat his sister-in-law believes is the reincarnation of his brother, it's more weird and patronising than anything divining humour from how awkward the grieving process can be for some folks. Better were scenes when the two leads simply walk about the town shooting the breeze, suggesting a hangout movie would have been a better option and those nods to humour would have been less jarring and more organic if they had emerged from observation instead of plonking down some weirdness and expecting us to chortle. Tschirner and Knighton made a nice couple, with never a sense one was carrying the other (one acting not in her native tongue and the other basically an amateur), yet somehow Everyone's Going to Die was slighter than intended. Music by Charlie Simpson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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