Film · POC Filmmakers · Review

The Sense of an Ending: This fucking guy

I’m sure The Sense of an Ending is a very accomplished film. It looks pretty and has a bunch of good performances. Jim Broadbent, looking more Jeremy Corbyn than ever, is more than believable in his role, a creaking aging man wiling away his retirement in a specialist camera shop which keeps its Yale lock latched even during business hours. That sounds disparaging, I really like the dude as an actor, he’s a compelling presence. So too are the women he surrounds himself with Charlotte Rampling (playing his university crush) Harriet Walter (his ex-wife) and Michelle Dockery (daughter) all put in these great performances.

Which might mean something if his character weren’t such a fucking shitheel. Like, he’s just the worst person. A caricature of privileged straight white male entitlement, it may be funny how awful this man is. His psychotic quest for the information that he is told repeatedly and insistently that he is not entitled to. Dedicated to finding out the meaning and effect of a choice in his youth, in which he chose, rather than acting respectfully, to be selfish and childish and disgusting.

Not much has changed in the character’s aspect since. He is routinely belligerent, disrespectful and dismissive to those around him, and all this just glides through the frame. Like he has the right. There’s a scene where it’s clear his companion in a cafe has just had enough of his shit, she stands up and leaves. Oh the indignity, the ignominy, he later kvetches about how he had to pay the bill. Before then he follows the person all the way to their house.

Anyone want to question this behaviour? Nope. Alright then movie. It seems more interested in his central London three bedroom that he lives in alone. Or his ex-wife’s fashionable candlelit two bedroom flat w/ balcony. Or his daughter’s terrace house, and his constant judging her for her choice to have a child, despite her having a PR job that affords her a pretty prime location giving the nearby tube stations. I complained last year about Things To Come‘s bourgeois catastrophes, all is forgiven, well almost all, I still ain’t no closer to actually liking that joint.

But at least it wasn’t about how this private school boy finally broke good. Put his bad opinions and views and prejudices behind him and became a better person. Except, you know, without actually apologising to anyone. Without having to ever take responsibility for his actions. Without actually making any material change to his life that would result in his actually expressing that improvement. As it is he gets all the information he desires and those b****es that were standing in his way are now gone from his life.

Jesus he such a whiny shit. It unbearable. Maybe his straight white man pain comes across better in the book, it won some very prestigious awards, but then maybe the literature community is more receptive of that. Oh, poor child, so sad that he never got laid, unable to process emotion in a grown up manner.

He’s the ‘rational’ man, that one who pops up to be the devil’s advocate and then argues just a little too passionately for the chosen side. He’s the MRA who bemoans the adverse effects of the patriarchy on their gender but either chooses to remain blind to the way it benefits them, or just blames feminists for the equality in the world. Perhaps if he were just the one old man it would be different, but he is just the oldest example of the waves of garbage people crushing the world.

They don’t need no encouragement.

What’s the point of even looking past that dark bruise at the centre of the film? Maybe director Ritesh Batra and Nick Payne, who adapted the screenplay, intended it as a takedown of this character. That’s the only way I can see it working. I assume that’s not what then set out to do, they’re both very competent at their craft and it would be surprising to see both screw up so bad. Nope, it’s an independent British drama, they’re making it for the audience, all those old white people who’ll be perfectly at home with the character when he’s sneering at his gay associates behind their backs.

You could practically go through, and scene by scene, pick out some bollocks that this dude shits up. I don’t think I’ve hated a character so much in a while.

There’s three solid, non-awful women in this flick. Why don’t next time we tell their stories instead?

senseofanending
Image courtesy of Studiocanal UK

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