Death is coming for us and it’s chock full of whimsy. A man? A woman? An entity?
Something known only to us mortals as Jones presents us their thesis on the basis of life and death with the feature motion picture Everyone’s Going to Die… welcome to British mumblecore.
Opening with beautifully shot scenes of a countryside setting we are quickly greeted Melanie (Nora Tschirner) who is clearly depressed. You can tell from the hang-dog expression and her music choices that she’s going to be a barrel of laugh and bringer of good times. Her friend Ali (Kellie Shirley – you may recognise her from Eastenders) shows up and off they go to a fancy dress party as Charlie Chaplin. Sigh. This could be a very long ninety minutes. Then Ray (Rob Knighton) turns up in a cafe where Melanie is arguing with the owner over the price of coffee, she goes there despite the hostile owner, because to do things like that I ever so “quirky”. Ray is in the area on a job. His job is clearly that of a hitman because he’s dressed like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.
Ray’s also about because his brother has recently died and he’s there to pay his respects. The couple begin an unlikely friendship that will make them both question the very fabric of their existence. It never comes across as that grand an idea in the film but that’s basically what they’re implying.
I approached the first twenty minutes or so with a sort of cock-eyed mistrust. Whilst impressively shot Everyone’s Going to Die had a wilful obtuseness to it that I expected to find grating. However Jones, the enigma, manages to win you over with a combination of strong visuals and two likeable leads. Even though they seem to wander around the screen in a daze most of the time the deadpan relationship that blossoms between them is quietly affecting. As the romantic climax rattles along to the finish you genuinely do wonder if they will end up together.
Whilst at times the humour verges dangerously close to “kooky” (people thinking that Ray’s brother has come back as a cat for instance), the deadpan delivery seems to fit well with European sensibilities. Rob Knighton is certainly a man who can express a lot with his face without really moving it.
Jones also pulls off the neat trick of managing to film the locations without ever telling us where they are. Even though it’s later revealed what part of the country they are in for the most part you’re not sure if you’re even in the UK. Maybe it’s just a town somewhere in the world where everyone speaks like them Brits. Maybe it’s purgatory. Maybe it’s Jacob’s Ladder. Two depressed souls looking for each other to cross over together.
Certainly not for everyone. There is much to enjoy though from the monolith they call Jones. Haunting at times even, quietly affecting humour and drama with two soulful performances from its leads. It also looks great. Everyone’s Going to Die is a lovely way to go.
Starring: Nora Tscirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley
Prd: Kelly Broad, Jones
DOP: Dan Stafford Clark
Run time: 83 mins
Everyone’s Going To Die is released in cinemas on June 26th 2015.