A timely film around the pandemic that will last years afterwards
THE END OF US (SXSW 2021)
Premiering at SXSW, The End of Us finally gives us a lockdown film worth watching, and one where the Covid-19 pandemic is just a location, not the storyline.
Directed by Henry Loevner and Steve Kanter as a feature length debut, it’s clear to see their work in shorts and tv coming through with their proficient direction style and the ease with which they switch between styles and tones. They make sure to place Nick and Leah front and center. This is a film about a couple going through a break-up during the Covid-19 quarantine, but most importantly it is about Nick and Leah. The pacing falters in the second half of the film and at times feels less gripping, however on the whole the film establishes an easy mood of consistency and realism with the humour never far from sight.
Out of work actor Nick is waiting for his girlfriend Leah to come home and run lines with him. When bickering turns into an argument, the pair break up by the end of the night. Unfortunately, they wake up in the morning not only dealing with their separation, but also stay at home orders due to the Covid-19 quarantine. The film follows them through the first 60 days of the quarantine and their break-up in slow motion as they deal with learning to live without each other as they literally aren’t allowed to live with anyone else.
It’s a surprisingly fun story that captures the heart of their relationship and allows us glimpses at both characters as individuals. Knowing exactly how much pandemic talk is too much, the film walks the line superbly, and whilst it drops off in the final act, it still resonates and feels like an enjoyable ride.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Ali Vingiano and Ben Coleman play Leah and Nick respectively with brilliant chemistry. Whether lovers, enemies, friends, or roommates, they work in every combination the film throws at us and feel as if they have lived a life together once before. Vingiano and Coleman both excel in their parts individually, capturing many facets of the human experience during the pandemic. Nick and Leah feel realistic and like people you know in your life, making the film more natural and easy. Instead of feeling like you’re watching a pandemic film, you feel like you’re watching two friends go through a bad situation during a terrible time. I hope to see more of them both in future works.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
By making use of limited locations and showcasing the gorgeous natural sunlight, it's a visually pleasing film that runs wild with editing at key moments, setting the mood perfectly, such as the Covid research depression segment. We get super fun editing that flows with the upbeat vibes.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The music is beautifully eclectic and perfectly pitched to the various tonal shifts within the film. It works hard to keep the tempo up and succeeds. It’s a very fun soundtrack that had me bopping along right until the end of the credits.
The End of Us succeeds at exactly what so many other films have failed at – making a timely film around the pandemic that will last years afterwards.