November 22, 2015

Goodbye World

Denis Henry Hennelly, 2014
We are living in an age of numerous apocalyptic movies. Nuclear wars, zombie plagues, global pandemics, terrorist attacks. The list goes on. Seems like every year we are served a dozen or so of them and we are forced to weed through them to find one of quality. Goodbye World, is one of the ones of little quality. The film starts off interesting. An ambiguous text starts to circulate saying "Goodbye World", puzzling the recipients. As a group of old friends plan their arrival to friend James' (Adrian Grenier) remote mountain house, order is beginning to break down. The group of friends are reuniting after years of not seeing each other for various reasons. Their reunion just happens to coincide with the collapse of civilization. And coincidentally, James happens to be a doomsday-prepper type who happens to have everything they will need when shit hits the fan. How convenient! The fact that he has all of the supplies, solar power, medicine neutralizes the panic and for most of the film all we really have to indicate that things have really collapsed is some smoke way off in the distance. Oh, and the occasional invader such as a pair of soldiers aggressively trying to claim their place on the compound. 

It's a movie that would have certainly benefited from being much simpler. It could have been an effective limited storytelling piece in an enclosed setting. But the stakes would have needed to be higher. Instead of pure panic and main conflict points were marital troubles, which would seem so trivial in a time like this. There were also just way too many story threads in general. Business conflict between the men. An old couple that still has feelings for each other. A woman still dealing with political fallout from a sex scandal. An ex con lecturer who does college tours.

The movie would have been a great opportunity for Adrian Grenier to do something that he was never able to do during his many years on HBO's Entourage: prove that he is a viable actor. Unfortunately, he fails to do that here. There actually isn't really a memorable performance in the film. Goodbye World is an frustratingly confused film. Probably a movie that was didn't end up materializing the way it was intended to. Instead of keeping things simple, it fell into a web of unnecessary complications. It's a movie that also has some glaring flaws, like kids just standing there when someone is shot to their death or when there is a stranger screaming at a mother. One of the most irritating points in the film is when one of the main characters reveal themselves to be a an absolute computer aficionado. How convenient!

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