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EIFF 2013: Everyone’s Going To Die Review

by Steven Neish

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Director: Jones.

Starring: Nora Tschirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley, Madeline Duggan, Stirling Gallacher.

Running Time: 83 minutes.

Synopsis: Melanie (Nora Tschirner) is living an aimless life until she meets Ray (Rob Knighton). Their lives are changed from their first introduction, though Ray’s line of work is less than legitimate.

Waking to find herself adrift in a stranger’s swimming pool dressed as Charlie Chaplin, Melanie makes her way back inside while unsuccessfully trying to reach her fiancé on his mobile phone. Later that morning she meets Ray at an unassuming cafe in Folkestone, Kent, finding him with a bunch of flowers intended for his late brother’s widow. A friendship quickly develops, and they spend much of the afternoon together before going their separate ways so that Melanie can babysit for her future sister-in-law and Ray can take care of some business across town.

A sedate, idiosyncratic black comedy from a pair of young Londoners who go by the name of ‘Jones’, EVERYONE’S GOING TO DIE is an exercise in good-humoured cynicism. With its two milling misanthropes and barren backdrop, the film paints a picture of desperation and melancholy that is severely lacking in a silver lining – poor Ray seems to be caught in the midst of an 83 minute mid-life crisis while Melanie is facing a future with a husband she’s not sure she actually wants. Perhaps that is why the undercurrent of dark, dry humour works so well, for while the film may be bleak and fatalistic, it is also funny and often hilarious.

As in OH BOY – another film with a disaffected German protagonist that is currently playing at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival – the out-of-touch protagonists serve to highlight the absurdity of their surroundings. Whether it is Ray asking for his coffee without sugar, only for the barista to point out that you add the sugar yourself, or Melanie taking a waitressing job in which she is required to roller-skate in fancy dress, ‘Jones’ succeed in making their audience sympathise with the two characters while also inviting you to laugh at them. This is best encapsulated during a scene set at Ray’s brother’s family home, where he is asked to participate in a play written by his estranged niece designed to help her cope with the loss of her father. It is this play from which the film takes its name.

That both characters remain so incredibly relatable throughout their unlikely adventures is testament to the talents of its impressive cast. Rob Knighton – a carpet fitter from London who, at the age of 50, made the move into modelling (and, shortly afterwards, filmmaking too) – is captivating as Ray, a socially awkward and softly spoken reluctant gangster. It is German actress Nora Tschirner who makes the biggest impression, however, delivering a measured and beautifully ironic performance as Melanie. Having asked Ray to pull over so that she can talk to her fiancé on the phone, Melanie turns to Ray and explains how she came to be living in Folkestone. It’s exquisitely written, and Tschirner plays it perfectly.

A confident directorial debut, EVERYONE’S GOING TO DIE is a film packed to the brim with new and emerging talent. Funny, poignant and brilliantly offbeat, this is the sort of pleasant surprise that film festivals thrive on, and a film that perhaps paradoxically deserves both mainstream success and a long life as a cherished cult classic.

Four Out Of Five Stars

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