Review by Sean Boelman
A lot of indie filmmakers like to take high-concept ideas like the end of the world and turn them into low-concept dramas. Mylissa Fitzsimmons’s Everything in the End resulted from such a process, and the result is a touching, if occasionally overwritten film meditation on human interactions.
The movie follows a young man who is stranded in an Icelandic village in the days leading up to the destruction of Earth, connecting with people he meets along the way. It’s really just a series of conversations that the protagonist has with a series of interesting characters, but it’s an interesting exercise in exploring what makes us human.
At only seventy-four minutes in length, the film doesn’t overstay its welcome. The way that the movie is structured is nice, moving through the landscape and people as the threat of the end looms over. Yet unlike a lot of films that build to the apocalypse, this feels relaxed rather than urgent, taking joy in the opportunities of connection as opposed to panicking over the things being lost.
There are various bits of wisdom sprinkled throughout the many conversations that the characters have, but the movie really seems to want the viewer to slow down and take in the beauty of the world and people around them. And in a world in which we have been separated from our fellow man for what feels like an eternity, this message rings particularly true.
Admittedly, the film does have some weaknesses with its character development. The protagonist is compelling, but his arc is extremely conventional, wrapping up with an ending that ties everything into a bow a little too nicely. However, there is a moment in the movie featuring a mother and son duo that is absolutely wonderful thanks to the way in which they are written.
Lead actor Hugo de Sousa does a lot of work in carrying this film, and he is phenomenal. It’s a performance that is somehow both active and reactionary, bringing emotion to the character in a way that is consistently effective. There are also some great players in the supporting cast, but they all serve to accent de Sousa’s performance.
This is a breathtaking movie that takes full advantage of the Icelandic scenery. That said, perhaps the most impressive thing about the film is that the foreign language portions are not subtitled. It’s an ambitious choice that probably won’t last long (when this gets distribution, it will likely be forced to include the translation) that really emphasizes the tone and emotion of these moments.
Everything in the End is a lovely little movie, and while it does (somewhat ironically) blow up a bit at the ending, it’s a mostly powerful watch. This is the type of art house gem that film festival audiences love to see.
Everything in the End is now streaming online as a part of the 2021 Florida Film Festival, which runs April 8-22 in Orlando, FL.