Friday, 29 December 2017

Goodbye World (2013)

"Goodbye World".  The message flashes from cell phone to cell phone, propagating out to people's address books without their consent.

At first the phenomenon seems to be just a curious exploitation of a flaw in the cell phone system, but then cyber attacks strike at the technological infrastructure of the modern world.  As cities devolve into riots, eight people - most of them former college friends now estranged to greater or lesser degrees by the events of intervening years - gather in the isolated mountain home belonging to two of their number.

This home has its own well water, enough solar panels to be totally off-grid, and a huge supply of food and medicine on hand.  It is, in other words, the perfect place to hide out from the collapse of society ... assuming said collapsing society leaves you alone.  And assuming that your group's own unfinished business won't break you apart.

Goodbye World has pretty mediocre ratings on IMDB, and I suspect that's at least in part because it presents as an 'end of the world' type tale, but the apocalypse is frankly just a backdrop for, and occasional motivator to, a relationship drama.  The characters tend to be much more interested in their personal grievances with each other than with the end of civilisation as they know it, despite the ever increasing signs that the end of civilisation is interested in them.

Benefiting from a strong cast (Gaby Hoffman is particularly good), this is a pretty low-key film on the whole - certainly that DVD cover is highly misleading - and I can see why plenty of potential viewers would be upset with the movie they actually got.  But if you go in with an openness to the idea of watching a film about how people (often fail to) engage with sudden and seismic change, it may well be worth your time.  Certainly I don't regret seeing it.

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