Goodbye World (2014)
Goodbye World (2014)
Director: Denis Hennelly
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Scott Mescudi, Mckenna Grace
Synopsis: When a mysterious terrorist attack causes chaos in the cities, a group of friends take refuge in their countryside cabin. But the challenges of living in a post-apocalyptic world soon take their toll on relationships within the group.
When a text message containing the words ‘Goodbye World’ arrives in the inbox of every mobile phone in the world it heralds the end of life on earth as we know it in Denis Hennelly’s apocalyptic soap opera. As ends of the world go, though, this one’s something of a whimper; there’s no catastrophic disaster or devastating plague, just a vaguely explained quiet surrender of technology that causes the breakdown of society in a matter of days. Budget restrictions limit apocalyptic screen-time to a few fuzzy images on an old TV.
As urbanites riot in the cities – budget restrictions limit these apocalyptic scenes to a few fuzzy images on an old TV screen and a description-cum-diatribe from a conspiracy theorist radio DJ – a group of eight friends gather Big Chill-style, in a retreat in the North California mountains. James Palmer (Adrian Grenier), who lives there with his wife Lily (Kerry Bishe) and daughter Hannah (Mckenna Grace), is something of a survivalist – although, bizarrely, we learn late in the film that he is the world’s only survivalist with an aversion to firearms – and has plentiful stocks of food and medicine, so our friends are feeling naively secure as they smoke pot and allow long-suppressed resentments to rise to the surface while surveying the end of the world from a comfortable perch on their picturesque mountaintop. Of course, it’s not long before outsiders begin sniffing around, and the group, which was never particularly close-knit to begin with, quickly begins to disintegrate.
For much of Goodbye World, the planet’s imminent demise appears to be little more than a minor inconvenience to our not-so-hardy heroes. They drink beer, eat salad and get stoned as they take turns to reveal what they’ll miss most about the old world. The sun always seems to shine, providing them with an opportunity to work on their tans. When rogue soldiers sniff around they see them off with a recitation of the constitution or something, but make sure they each have a goodie bag before departing. A kind of reality eventually bursts their bubble, but it never intrudes on what is essentially a relationship movie in which the end of the world is a minor sub-plot, and the whole poorly-conceived debacle checks out with a utopian scene of heart-warming togetherness that will set your teeth a-grinding.
(Reviewed 22nd August 2015)