Thursday, 16 February 2017

REVIEW - IT'S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (XAVIER DOLAN)


But would that it were! Xavier Dolan assembles a quintet of performers from whose company I'd flee even if the apocalypse were imminent, to see which one can bellow into the void with the most futile fervour. It'd be beguilingly odd if It's Only the End of the World wasn't so blatantly pretentious, for Dolan's impression of life remains remarkably dissimilar to anything resembling reality, and his attraction to theatrical works does him no favours. Whether or not it looks like the real thing - and Andre Turpin remains Dolan's greatest asset, for End of the World at least looks lovely - it certainly doesn't sound like the real thing, whether it's incessant verbosity or pompous silence. Characters drone on in monologues that seem intended to express a great deal about themselves, though whose abstract imprecision and florid style consistently only express a great deal about their writer. With receipt neither from their companions within the screen nor from their audience beyond it, the result is dull, draining and wholly lacking in insight. And that's a shame, because Dolan is genuinely on to something in his choice of mise-en-scene. The claustrophobic close-ups are easily dismissed, given their inevitable ineffectuality when set against that heinous dialogue, and their necessary unpleasantness, but they are collectively an intelligent, empathetic idea. The boldness of Dolan and Turpin's approach may convey only one pertinent thematic notion, but it does so succinctly, which is a quality elsewhere absent from End of the World. Altogether, it's a fascinating misfire, albeit one that would be much more fascinating if it weren't for its insufferability. Spend your days, whether or not they be your last, watching something else.