The Endless – Toronto After Dark Review

About two years ago, I vividly remember skipping a Mad Max: Fury Road screening to go see a movie being described as “Richard Linklater meet H.P. Lovecraft.” Being extremely intrigued by that comparison, I knew I had to go see it. I saw Mad Max the next day, but it didn’t make my top ten at the end of the year. But Spring did. After, I seeked out their first film Resolution, and was happy to see it was on Netflix (which sadly, is no longer on Canadian Netflix). I’ve been waiting for their next film ever since.

When I found out that their latest film The Endless would be playing here for Toronto After Dark Film Festival, I knew I had to go.

The Endless is  film about two brothers who leave a cult, and it picks up roughly about a decade after those events.

One day, Aaron (played by Aaron Moorhead, who co-directed it, was their cinematographer, and also tackled VFX) receives a tape in the mail, and after using money he should have used on something more important (like a new car battery), he watches the tape and sees that it’s a message from a member from the community he used to belong to. This causes him to want to return back for a visit. His brother Justin (played by Justin Benson, who co-directed it, and also wrote the film) is less interested since Justin is the reason they no longer live in that community. He is the one who pulled the plug and left at the right time.

In Justin’s mind, he’s the hero who saved his and his brother’s life. But to Aaron, Justin brought him to our mundane life of jobs that repeat daily. The fear of the vicious cycle of the banal life in our typical 9-5 day jobs.

The two decide to return to the camp they had left from before. They are brought in with open arms, but soon there are questions that they and the audience have. such, as why do they look like they haven’t aged a day in the decade they had left?

Once again, Benson and Moorhead have constructed a mythology that is based in true tangible logic (unlike Lynch’s dream logic as Moorhead mentions in our Q&A period after the film), and each character has tons of backstory we never audibly learn, but we see it in the fascinating production design.

Questions aren’t answered, not at first at least and they might be able to on future viewings, which the film highly warrants. The clues to the answers are typically found hidden in plain sight.

This directing duo is fascinated by time, and what it might mean to live forever, and I am in awe of them for tackling some of these topics which such nihilism but also, optimism. I wasn’t sure the two could go hand in hand before them. But, until I am able to see whatever magic trick of theirs fall from the sky next, I’ll be glad to watch their films again, and again. And again.

And again.



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