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“Everything in the End” Film Review – Film Critics Program #12

Everything in the End

2021 | Dir. Mylissa Fitzsimmons | 80 minutes
Film Reviewed by Josiah McClelland

Everything in the End is a touching movie about the human necessity for connection in a truly bleak world.  Something that rings a little louder lately, due to COVID. An isolated Portuguese man is stranded in a small Icelandic village during Earth’s last days. But unlike similar “end of the world” movies, the apocalypse itself isn’t the focus of the picture. Instead, it is the authentic characters our protagonist meets and their struggle to comprehend their oncoming demise. 

What this film shines on is its convincing, almost candid dialogue. As our lead Paulo meets the local residents, the interactions always feel convincing, and their situations bring out their relatable humanity. While Paulo deals with the loss of a loved one alongside the looming darkness, the people he meets along the way not only help him process his own emotions, but the true depth of compassion humans can express.  The film shoots these exchanges almost like a podcast interview. Where characters talk freely about life, death, and the meaning in the face of it all. The villagers almost represent the stages of grief, and each of their stories are truly moving.

As one would expect from the title Everything in the End. The aforementioned End isn’t at all the focus of the film. Sidelining the allegorical storm to mentions and brief glimpses, which I think only bolsters the heart of the film. By relegating the apocalypse to a heavy cloud in the back of everyone’s minds, the film is free to explore the high concept of its premise.  That being how humanity would deal with a collective end. Instead of pessimistic selfish survival, much portrayed in recent media, In The End chooses to show human compassion instead. Characters feel like concerned neighbors ready to lend a helping hand. There are no riots, no disorder, no breakdown of civilization, only the benign surrender to the imminent.

The scenery of Iceland is truly one of the main cast members, its beautiful landscapes make for a truly cinematic feeling. Drowning its characters in its luscious backdrop. Its fog-covered mountains and grey beaches make the setting feel even more ominous. The rocky green bluffs and windy yellow grasslands add to the mysterious allure that only elevates the feeling of finality that is foredooming. And is ever insinuated by the wonderful sound design. While being a truly quiet and reflective film, the quiet is never silent. From waterfalls pouring to empty breezes, this film overflows with mesmerizing sounds of Iceland.  All combining to make the already contemplative film even more melancholic.

Everything in the End is a meaningful look into the depths of human perseverance in the face of adversity. Its authentic dialogue sells the desperation of characters truly facing their mortality. Some with regret, others with ignorance. It is truly invigorating with its depiction of the range of humanity from kindness to heartbreak.  All telling a story of humanity, as a whole, sorrowfully contemplating the briefness of life and the inevitable end that is death. But with the beauty that can only be captured with the magic of film. 

Everything in the End streams as part of the Icelandic Film Series on GIFF Online from now until the end of the Festival on July 25.