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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS

Written By:

Jack Bottomley
Im-thinking-of-ending-things-starburst-review

CERT: 15 / PLATFORMS: NETFLIX / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

When something is billed as “a Netflix horror drama chiller from writer/director Charlie Kaufman”, you immediately know you are going to be in for something not of the ordinary. And we can safely say, you might need to give this one time to brew in the old noggin’. And perhaps even revisit regularly.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, based on Iain Reid’s novel, concerns a young woman (Jessie Buckley) who is on a road trip with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons), as they head to meet Jake’s parents. Trouble is she is thinking of ending things but as this night goes on, many further challenging feelings arise and many questions along with them.

Kaufman’s latest staggering work is somehow both unmistakably a horror film and also very much not. So, a horror, as only he would create then? A perplexing drive into the existential terror of the human condition, that has scenes as affecting as they are sometimes toe curling, with a story that seems so straightforward but is one to decipher, using the pieces placed – often subtly – along the way. From its earliest moments the unease bleeds into the story but it is only as the narrative is increasingly ripped to shreds and blown into a – literal – snowstorm, that you are encouraged to try and grab all the pieces and make what you will of them. Some may see such fragmentation as pretentious or needlessly difficult but one gets the impression Kaufman would have it no other way.

Astoundingly performed by all, Buckley is especially remarkable in the passenger seat of this movie, which relishes the depth of field and almost poetic dialogue exchanges. She plays a character increasingly not in control and whose very being constantly fluctuates alongside escalating events. While Plemons continues to take on challenging work in his blooming post Breaking Bad career with great results. While excellent support is offered by a darkly comic and socially awkward David Thewlis, and a jittering and pained Toni Collette, as Jake’s parents. The strength of such performances, only adds to the film’s encompassing nature.

If you are in a bad place, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is unsurprisingly sometimes an unbearably hopeless trip that will not exactly help you out, but this film lays bare our feelings and experiences, offering up a shared discussion of them, as well as a meditation on ageing, revisiting regrets and being tortured by our thoughts, hopes and desires. Especially those unfulfilled. As it toys with horror and thriller tropes in the most aesthetically enchanting and bold of ways, the results are bizarre, incredible and simply put…human.

Jack Bottomley

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