The Endless River
The Endless River opens on a series of sweeping landscapes of South Africa, accompanied by a melody worthy of some grand Hollywood epic, akin to Gone with the Wind.
While the unusual setting certainly showcases the country’s stunning natural beauty, the plot paints a rather bleak picture of life in the backwaters of a remote South African town, in which a man’s release from prison is soon followed by three savage murders. This particular sequence, violent and descriptive, which adheres to the film’s slow, slick style, feels rather too gratuitous, and leaves the viewer with a profoundly disturbing impression, which lingers throughout the rest of the film like a bad smell.
Another unsettling death follows, which plunges the story still further into the already established sense of unease and ambiguity. The protagonists, Gilles (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and Tiny (Crystal Donna Roberts), each mourning their own losses, form an unlikely, undefinable and, as the narration progresses, increasingly unconvincing connection. However, Duvauchelle’s acting is certainly a credit to the film; he delivers a remarkable performance, played with emotion and devastating conviction. Braam du Toit’s score also adds a sinister beauty to certain scenes.
Initially, the languid but very deliberate pace of the film adds to its charged and uneasy atmosphere, but this soon comes to feel somewhat monotonous and a little sluggish, leaving the viewer disengaged. Strung along by the tentative hope of some great revelation, an audience might feel cheated by The Endless River’s strange and abrupt… end.
Of course, a little open-endedness is almost expected of a crime drama, but following an agonising string of pregnant silences and fraught looks between characters, the story is left unresolved and unsatisfying, while the viewer must now suffer the same hunger for closure which consumes the characters.
The Endless River does not yet have a UK release date yet.
Watch the trailer for The Endless River here:
Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.
If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.