I'm Thinking of Ending Things Review
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a Netflix original film released this month, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, of various other weird film fame. I didn’t really go into it with any expectations or knowledge of what it’s about - all I did was watch the trailer - and that definitely made the experience even stranger.
This film made me feel really, really uncomfortable for a lot of it. A lot of it feels like a horror film, with cars driving in nightime blizzards, a cellar door covered in scratches, ominous and tense music, intensely odd and unpredictable characters. But, the big scary monster never comes, instead the feeling that something awful is about to happen persists throughout the entire film, which in many ways is worse than a jumpcut straight to a demon’s face. From the outset it becomes clear that at least part of what the audience is seeing is not real, and that feeling quickly erodes to leave the viewer unclear if anything at all is based in reality.
The tension between every single one of the characters is palpable throughout, at times almost unbearable (one scene that will titillate certain readers of this blog is when the protagonist’s boyfriend quotes something by David Foster Wallace to her, and when she duly criticises the author, he becomes defensive, in true DFW fanboy fashion). The boyfriend seems incredibly controlling at times, and the protagonist feels like he can hear her thoughts on occasion, but it’s never clear what he is in fact controlling her to do - the malice always seems to be at the end of the next dark, snowy road, but it never materializes. The performances are all deeply unsettling, and do a great job of making the obviously unreal feel alarmingly existent. The soundtrack is great, often very subtle at times, more atmospheric than musical - with the exception of the number from Oklahoma at the end. No that’s not a joke.
I feel like this film was trying to make some kind of point, but I’m not really sure what it was. I didn’t really understand it, perhaps because I’m not smart enough to, and that’s no bad thing - perhaps the point was merely to get the cogs whirring. If you like weird films, especially weird horror films, you’ll enjoy I’m Thinking of Ending Things, but if not then I’d probably skip it.