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1 review, 2 user ratings

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End, The (2007)
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by Jay Seaver

"This is the end, my friends..."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2008 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: It is a bit worrisome when, prior to a festival screening, the director is offering what can seem like excuses or explanations - they had less money than the short film that precedes it, but it is long for a zero-budget indie, there's a big plot twist in the middle, etc., etc. If you believe in your movie, let it stand, I figure. I'm pretty sure I still would have enjoyed "The End" without my expectations being managed.

I admit, it may have helped a little. The opening is kind of clunky; we seem to hear about what high school teacher Joseph Rickman (Jeremy Thomas) did sixteen years ago in every other line of dialog before finally getting into details. Back then, as a teenager, he found a missing girl on sheer intuition, and he's starting to get weird hunches again, seeing a strange robed, limping man in a tragedy mask who may be responsible for a rash of recent kidnappings. Joseph's long-time friend, Det. Clara Wilkie (Ella May) worries about him, but is willing to take whatever help she can get with the case - even after Joseph recognizes and shares the unorthodox source of his intuition.

To let that cat out of the bag would be a shame, and I'm not going to do it, but it is one of the rare mid-thriller twists that makes the movie funnier rather than more grim. It's clever and relatively unexpected based upon what had come before, but does make the things that might have seemed irritating earlier on go down easier in retrospect. That doesn't mean the film completely transforms into a comedy; the characters still take the mystery story seriously, and what is funny to the audience is in fact disturbing to the people within the film.

That's a pretty neat trick on the part of Thomas, who writes and directs as well as playing the lead. He lays out some of the ideas he's going to be playing with early, having Joseph lecture his English class on the necessity of shared experience to confirm one's beliefs and the question of whether free will exists or whether the human mind is a deterministic, chemical computer. Once he has the plot twist, he seems to have fun elaborating on it, finding new ways to push things just a bit further as the movie goes on. The climactic set piece is also pretty well-constructed.

As an actor, Thomas isn't bad at all. At times, he seems a little artificial, but at others he seems real in an "I'd probably be a bit awkward in this situation, too" manner. Ella May is much the same, and the two of them are fun to watch together. It's a bit of a step down to the supporting characters, but it's a lot less painful than it is in other low-budget independents, because Thomas has done a good job of working around his limitations.

It would be nice if the very end of the movie worked a bit better. It's clever, but somewhat underwhelming considering the build-up to it. Still, Jeremy Thomas has managed to make something nifty out of not very much in the way of resources.

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originally posted: 07/17/08 01:45:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2008 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/22/08 Brian McKenzie well thought out,, great film,, Jeremy very well Talented.. Great job cast. 5 stars
7/17/08 Eloise Carlson This was a great film, very entertaining. 4 stars
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  N/A (NR)
  DVD: 01-Dec-2009



Directed by
  Jeremy Thomas

Written by
  Jeremy Thomas

  Jeremy Thomas
  Ella May
  Katie Webber
  John Knight
  Darren MacDonald

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