Film - Goodbye World

Goodbye World

Nate McKenzie is infatuated with movies about disasters that lead to the demise of Planet Earth and its inhabitants. Whether you call them post-Apocalyptic, dystopian or Doomsday movies, the general premise is the same: most everyone dies and/or the Earth itself is destroyed. This time he says Goodbye World...

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. - Thoreau

The short narration at the beginning of Goodbye World functions as an introduction to the main character and the setting for the rest of the film. Starring Adrien Grenier (Entourage), Kerry Bishe (Halt and Catch Fire), and rapper Scott Mescudi, (a.k.a. Kid Cudi) Goodbye World has a strong young cast that have been chosen poignantly for each of their roles.

When a computer virus shuts down all the electronics on the planet society is thrown into chaos. In the immediate aftermath a group of friends make their way to the secluded mountainside home of one member of the group. James and Lily Palmer have a self-sustaining house fit for riding out just this sort of tragedy, so by way of invitation or fortuitous happenstance, each of the friends ends up there.

The "how did it happen" of the collapse is explained as it pertains to the virus but isn't dwelled on, as it isn't the central point, without white-washing. As more information is revealed however it comes to light that one of the members of the group may actually be the conductor of the electronic apocalypse.

Goodbye World explores the cultural and societal impact of a doomsday scenario. There is no blood and gore, little actual violence, and only a modicum of that fear that usually is prevalent in films from this genre. What makes the story is that the emotional turmoil and the real-life situations are tangible. This movie does a great job of allowing you to feel what it would be like to be secluded with little to no hope for a return to normalcy.

One of the things I look for in an end of the world movie is a unique perspective. If a collapse were to happen in real life, not every person is going to know right away. Where a movie like Parts Per Billion is mostly about the romantic view, Goodbye World is about the survival: not just survival in a deconstructed society but also in the close proximity of people who are close to your heart; because, let's face it, it's hard enough to always get along with people you care about when the world isn't falling down around you. Even in a time when technological communication is broken down secrets still find their way out and tear down that which is precariously perched.

Each character is well parsed and thoroughly explored and the dynamics of the group are on full display from the start. They all have their own identity and each feels vital to the story. The story itself feels like a romantic comedy dinner party set against the backdrop of a warehouse fire. Some of the acting is sub-par and there are positively cliché moments in the dialogue - specifically, the overly rigid recitation of George Washington's speech and one character seemingly knowing the entire Declaration of Independence word for word. I would have liked to see more examples of the group fending for themselves and natural problems one would encounter while trying to survive in that setting. But of course the story devolves into a love-triangle mess.

Despite all that I really enjoyed Goodbye World. It is a solid representation of what I could imagine that life would be like on the edge of a society that has found ruin. The nervous moments with the soldiers feels real and the tension that develops with the neighbors would be inevitable and therefore is authentic.

Of course, any movie that begins by quoting Henry David Thoreau's Walden is like giving a child a giant pink bear before sending them off to bed. In an post-apocalyptic film I want something more resounding than what is offered here. Not nearly as good as, say, The Road or Snowpiercer, but better than Parts Per Billion (by quite a bit), Goodbye World is still a weaker stab at the genre, but not without qualities that merit a viewing.

Image - IMDb.