By Emma Silverthorn @HouseOf_Gazelle
Everyone’s Going To Die: an unusual name for an aptly unusual film. The debut film of intriguing British Director Collective Jones EGTD is an offbeat “romantic comedy”, the words rom-com being said in VERY large inverted commas. This is genre-bending stuff, no simple heart-warming, or syrupy endings here. The rom-com element is reminiscent of Lost in Translation in that the romance is all about what does not, or has not yet happened. The moments before, the possibility and tension.
Odd balls Melanie (Nora Tschirner) and Ray (Rob Knighton) are living sort of half-lives on the peripheries of not just society but their own lives, their hearts are distinctly not in it. It being for Melanie life as a German ex-pat living in a parochial English seaside town engaged to a, potentially philandering, certainly neglectful English artist. It for Ray being a dark past, a job as some sort of small time gangster, and a flailing marriage. On the surface, these two are far apart in age difference, (Melanie is in her late 20’s, Ray is mid fifties), social class (Melanie is of the artsy middle-classes, Ray a is working class criminal) and circumstance, yet their alienation and their simultaneous internal implosions means they are in fact perfect for each other, or at least perfect for each other in this moment. This is a strangers meet and potentially change each other lives kind of scenario, a set up familiar to Miranda July fans.
Tschirner and Knighton have chemistry of the repressed variety down to a tee, (this emphasised by the lo-fi, beauty of Jones’ cinematography), and they captivate on screen together. Tschirner is super-cool, moody and a tad depressive, Knighton is a silver-fox understated mob-type undergoing an existential crisis.
Complimenting them is Ray’s Wiccan-following estranged family, including Eastenders star Madeline Duggan as Ray’s niece. And the film is about family ties and pressures as much as it is about romantic ones. For Ray the dark past he’s confronting by returning to the place he grew up in and meeting the family he’s missed for three decades. (A shock to come back and find his late brother has been reincarnated as a cat!) For Melanie the pressures of having a family whose expectations are too high, who are too sure of her (untapped) creativity and potential, yes indeed these are First World, White Girl Problems.
But Melanie (Jones’ clever script) does make some valid points pertinent to the creative middle-classes (the BOBO’s). A class in which everyone is writing a novel, album, has a KickStarter, where everyone is being told they’ve got talent and that the world NEEDS to experience this talent. What, Melanie asks, happens if just don’t know what you want to do, if you’re rubbish at seeing anything through of your own volition and just wish you came from ‘a family of goat-herders’ so you would know exactly what to do with your whole life i.e. herd goats.
Everyone’s Going To Die is a thoughtful and funny Indie Brit flick to be watched with a bottle of red wine, a bunch of friends and an open mind. In places it falters, trying too hard to reach the heights of kookiness or almost pausing after a joke waiting for the audience laughter, but for the most part this is a rather fine debut.
Everyone’s Going To Die is out in cinemas on June 26th. See the trailer here.