Introvert Adam is sat quietly in a bar when a match-making friend introduces him to the outgoing ‘K’. Adam is in introspective and distracted mood, but the gregarious young woman is sufficiently interested in him to agree to head out on a night together. Outside the club, ‘K’ and everyone else disappears and Adam is left alone on an empty street in an abandoned city. With a sigh of recognition, he wanders off into the night. It’s a captivating start to an unusual indie film.
The image of the lone survivor, left to fend for themselves in a depopulated world has featured in many movies over the years including The Last Man on Earth (1964), its remake The Omega Man (1971), The Quiet Earth (1985) and many other low-key, end-of-the-world flicks brought to the big screen in the decades since.
Go/Don’t Go has a more intense sense of abandonment and entrapment than its predecessors in the genre. As the story unfolds, scenes from Adam’s daily life are intercut with flashbacks from a time before the calamity; moments which reveal more about his relationship with ‘K’. Mixed into that are Adam’s attempts to navigate a way to sanctuary; a trial-and-error process that sees him mark-up routes on a map with the words from the film’s title. Adam also converses with characters from his past, who offer him advice, while unseen figures appear to threaten his well-being and his sanity.
This is anything but an adrenaline-fueled tale of post-apocalyptic survival. Instead, Go/Don’t Go is a slow-burn, existential treatise on loneliness, separation, and loss. The whole endeavour pivots on the figure of Adam (played with quiet conviction by writer/director Alex Knapp), who appears in almost every frame. Adam attempts to inject meaning into his silent and solitary life by following a self-imposed routine. Much of the film tracks him completing his curious daily rituals, and his occasional attempts to escape his predicament (either by heading off towards the mountains or enjoying a solo date night). It’s a concentrated and unhurried character study.
The reflective atmosphere of this personal diary is enhanced by a melancholic soundtrack, and an array of haunting and arresting visuals of a ‘man alone’ courtesy of cinematographer Frank Turiano. The script invites the viewer to wonder if Adam really is living in a dystopian form of solitary confinement, or if the story is instead a metaphor for his experience of detachment from the world around him. Go/Don’t Go offers no clear-cut answer to this question, or any of the others that it raises. But this is a film in which (as the central character himself comes to realise) a commitment to making the journey might be even more important than the hope of ever arriving at the destination.
Release Date: Out Now (US)