I think at the end of things: Netflix makes existential horror

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The horror genre usually gives a release to the public. Even though it stacks of terror, fear, and tension, there is the likelihood of thrills or some other supernatural. Our hearts race with anticipation like the vertiginous ride of a roller coaster that gives the illusion of danger even when we are well attached and know that no harm will come to us. Charlie Kaufmanhorror film, I think of the end of things, surgically removes these chills to leave us only the existential terror of our own existence. Take off from the literal to swim in the waters of the abstract, I think of the end of things is inundated with a sea of ​​anguish to drown his audience in fear and grief. The film is aggressively depressing in attitude if not in particular action. As you watch the film, you share the boredom, unease, and pain of the protagonist of the time as we are in a prison that we cannot see but constantly feel. It is a deeply unpleasant experience.

A girlfriend (Jessie Buckley) named Louisa, or maybe Lucia, or maybe that’s okay, it’s a snowy road trip with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) to meet Jake’s mom (Toni Collette) and dad (David Thewlis). The girlfriend thought about breaking up with Jake. He’s nice enough, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a future there, or almost anywhere. Her journey with Jake takes her to the depths of her most terrifying anxieties as the banal dinner with Jake’s parents reveals the girlfriend’s fears of time, aging, relationships, and the pain of existence.

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Image via Netflix

Even at his most bizarre, Kaufman typically builds guardrails for his audience. It doesn’t matter exactly how there was a portal to John Malkovich’s head; the most important point is the discomfort we feel with our own existence and our desire to escape through connection with another person. No matter how everyone has Tom Noonan’s voice and his unremarkable face Anomalisa; what matters is that our protagonist feels disconnected from the whole world. You know it’s going to get weird in a Kaufman movie, and the only question is how weird it’s going to get. I think of the end of things is even stranger than Kaufman’s directorial debut in 2008 Synecdoche, New York. It’s a movie that refuses to hold your hand for even a second to make you constantly uncomfortable. You will sit there and ask yourself, “Why is Louisa now called Lucie?” “Why does the girlfriend’s curriculum keep changing?” “Why are Jake’s parents constantly changing ages?” “Why are conversations so tense and stilted?” “Who is this silent concierge to whom we keep coming back?”

To try to “explain” I think of the end of things would be madness because it is not so much about the answers as about the lack of answers. This is the general feeling of fear of our own existence. You take a mundane event – meeting your boyfriend’s parents – and it becomes a synecdoche to see your whole life blinking in front of your eyes. If you stick with this dry, pleasant enough, but ultimately unsatisfying man, it will become your life. Your identity will be subsumed with his. His parents will become your parents, and you will now be responsible for caring for those people you never met until adulthood. It doesn’t matter if any of these people are good or bad; it’s your life now, then your life is over. “We think we go through time, but time goes through us,” says the girlfriend. Life has no meaning and then you die. Pass the Yule log.

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Image via Netflix

If you are like me and constantly riddled with angst, it is embarrassing to have to share even more angst while watching this film. I think of the end of things wants us to sit down with the horrors we know and choose to ignore. We are afraid of our own erasure, we are afraid of alienation, we are afraid of connection, we are afraid of aging, we are afraid of everything and as we are told at the end of the film, “Everything is the same. . ” I think of the end of things doesn’t have as many ups and downs as the faint dread hum. It is hard to feel much for the girlfriend because her anxieties are distinguished by most of the white middle class existence. There is nothing special about her because there is nothing special about people like her, and you kind of continue in a relentless snow drift trying to grab something – art, knowledge, another person – for some kind of meaning.

The relentless entropy of I think of the end of things is both useful and awful. I can’t fault the film for achieving what it wants to do, any more than I can fault a root canal for being painful. It is the nature of the thing. He exists outside the good / bad spectrum because he is very successful at being atrocious. It’s a horror film with no reprieve and no response. There is only, to quote the girlfriend, “deeds and suffering”.

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