Paul Steward reviews new Netflix release I’m Thinking of Ending Things.
This latest Netflix release sees American screenwriter Charlie Kaufman adapt the 2016 novel ‘I’m thinking of ending things’ by Canadian author Ian Reid.
Starring Jessie Buckley, the film follows her character Lucy, as she negotiates the early stages of a relationship with new boyfriend Jake, played by Jesse Plemons.
Unsure of herself and of where the relationship is heading, she drifts towards an important next step, as Jake drives her through the snow to meet his parents.
The film starts promisingly enough, and despite a tedious poetry recital, the road trip is entertainingly awkward with Lucy’s inner voice persistently questioning her feelings for her new beau.
The awkwardness is elevated to the next level when Jake’s parents are introduced, brilliantly played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis.
However after an engaging family meal scene, the film goes completely off the rails as it mutates into a delirious fever dream and never recovers.
Writer/director Kaufman is a talented individual who has written excellent films in the past, such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
However this film reeks of a self-indulgent filmmaker given too much freedom.
(Netflix admirably gives its filmmakers complete creative control).
With nobody to rein him in, the film drags on for well over two hours and descends into a chin stroking, directionless nightmare.
The impenetrable plot sees a high school janitor appear periodically without context, and the character introduced as Lucy begin to morph into different people.
Buckley puts her heart and soul into the role, but the film criminally squanders most of the acting talent on show.
If you’re hoping all will become clear in the end, think again, as Kaufman infuriatingly makes no attempt to wrap up the plot in a coherent manner.
At one point the film seems to poke fun at director Robert Zemeckis, and if you’re still watching by the time the animated talking pig arrives, you’d be forgiven for wishing you were watching one of his films instead.
Fans of bleak surrealist drama may well be sold on this bold take on the source material, but to the layman ‘I’m thinking of ending things’ is insufferable pretentious nonsense of the highest order.