Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Goodbye World: A Talky Apocalypse
race dropouts James and Lily live in the place where hippies and survivalists
intersect. Given its strategic hilltop position and the well-stocked freezers
full of food and medicine, their Mendocino County home will provide refuge to a
number of their long lost college friends. Unfortunately, human nature keeps
doing what it does in Denis Henry Hennelly’s Goodbye World (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.
and Becky were already en route for an awkward weekend visit to his estranged
college pals. He was once engaged to Lily and business partners with James,
until the hypocritical hippie forced him out over a philosophical disagreement.
That is a lot of shared history, but surely they ought to be able to put it
aside once the apocalypse hits, right?
course, it is hard to get reliable reporting on the freshly minted end of the world.
Fortunately, they can rely on the analysis of Laura, another college chum, who
was recently an aide to the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, until
a leaked sex tape ruined her career. To further increase tensions, their Bill
Ayers-lite college professor pal and his latest coed conquest also make their
way to their Northern California refuge. To round out the cast of problematic
houseguests, their weirdo hacker pal Lev Berkowitz turns up in state of near
catatonia, openly inviting viewers to suspect he might have had a role
precipitating the cyber attack.
millions of smart phones simultaneously received the same cryptic text: “goodbye
world.” Then systems started failing left and right, leading to riots in the
street. James believes they can sit tight for several years, presuming they can
stomach each other, until ominous outsiders start showing up and making
the sketchy details Hennelly and co-writer Sarah Adina Smith dole out on the early
process of Armageddon are far more intriguing than the post-apocalyptic
melodrama. For the most part, they are shallow, self-absorbed creeps. Even
James & Lily’s daughter is an entitled princess. Still, making the
scandal-tarred Laura an American Revolutionary War re-enactor is a nice bit of
in the nearly unwatchable First Winter, the
end of the world and the widespread casualties that result do not seem to cause
anyone much lasting sorrow. Instead, they are preoccupied with their own petty
jealousies and resentments. It is one thing to compartmentalize, but that is
just cold. Logically, Gaby Hoffman fares the best amid the large vanilla
ensembles, since she is blessed with the most distinctively limned character.
To be stuck in the same house as these people would
be a fate far worse than any urban anarchy. The special effects team nicely
evokes the end times with some subtle but clever bits of business, but Hoffman
cannot single-handedly compensate for the massively boring characters her Laura
must deal with. Although it gets out of the blocks quickly, Goodbye World soon loses steam. Best
saved for fanatical hippie survivalists, it opens this Friday (4/4) in New York
at the Village East.
Labels: Apocalyptic cinema