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« Michael Haneke's "Happy End" Gives An Unhappy First Glance | Main | Thoughts I Had: First images from "Murder on the Orient Express" »
Wednesday
May032017

Tribeca 2017: The Endless

And here's Jason Adams finally report from Tribeca Film Festival though Nathaniel has a few more to go...

If you loves puns as much as I love puns you'll understand when I find myself in a bit of a mental pickle when a film I don't particularly enjoy comes along and it's called The Endless. On the one hand it's just far too easy, riffing on how "endless" you found the experience of sitting through the film to be. On the other... it's the base level humor of puns that we're talking about here. This ain't precisely elliptical rocket science stuff. You can go low when they go low.

But even worse for this pun-lover is it's not particularly true either, that The Endless feels endless, and so we're stuck somewhere in between. Kind of like the characters in The Endless find themselves! Whoa. If that blew your mind then have I got a movie for you...

Aaron and Justin (played by co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead) are brothers who have spent the last near-decade recovering from a youthful stint in a crazy brainwashing death cult. Life's not great on the outside though - they have, like, shitty jobs and stuff - and so when they receive a mysterious videotape from their former death cult friends they decide to go visit, as one does with a crazy brainwashing death cult. Just pop in for a howdy doo.

To be honest it was at this early point that the film lost me - Benson and Moorehead are not actor enough to sell this improbable plot machination (in place of "self-defeating" I just saw "way mopey bro") and it only feels more forced from there. There are six seasons worth of Lost crammed into The Endless' one hundred minute run-time - I kept expecting (meaning I kept hoping) Bai Ling would show up and craft some far-out mystical tattoos. 

The duo have made good films before - I enjoyed 2014's Spring with Lou Taylor Pucci romancing a sexy sea creature - and the film does get somewhat better as it goes along, racking up a laundry list of weirdnesses. There's a scene involving a campground tug game that's indelibly eerie, and some lo-fi special effects that are lo-fi super. But what The Endless wants is to be Primer, and The Endless ain't no Primer. It's a pun searching for its purpose.

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