Some Candid Observations on the Eve of the End of the World is very much like its title: Odd and honest with a little bit of intrigue thrown in at the end. Tristan (Theo Barklem-Biggs) receives an email warning him of an imminent alien attack that will wipe out London and decides to document his last day on earth. He explores the mundane thoughts of an ordinary day juxtaposed with the more complex feelings of one’s death. Facing the terrifying ordeal of becoming a father, Tristan would much rather take his chances with the aliens.
It may take you longer to read the title than to view the film but it is certainly worth a watch. It opens strong, setting up the tone by expressing the serious nature of the film but quickly undercutting it with dark humour. However, I wouldn’t call the film a black comedy as it doesn’t maintain the laughs throughout but I think that’s for the better – it is there to blanket the drama. The humour comes from Tristan and his brutal honesty. He is both the hero and the comic relief, a small spark amongst a much larger, scarier event.
Tristan is extremely complex and we see the massive journey he goes on in twenty minutes, which is impressive. He says what everyone is thinking, which is commendable, and he is more than a little weird and creepy but still likeable. Other characters, as well as the audience, are never entirely sure how to take Tristan, as he inspires a lot of mixed emotions and thoughts, which makes his journey so much more interesting. Throughout the film we follow Tristan’s point of view, which means we see no evidence of the aliens’ planned attack. This keeps us guessing as to whether it is a real threat or perhaps a form of escapism for the expectant father, avoiding his new life by focusing on the prospect of death.
There is a slight ‘found footage’ style of camerawork in the film as Tristan chronicles his day. This style of filmmaking can get clichéd and has been used as a default for every low budget indie. However, in his particular case, it allows characterisation more than anything else and helps take us into the moment and the position of Tristan at key plot points.
There are massive themes dealt with in the film which could be intimidating and definitely get the audience thinking, but they take place in a small intimate setting making us feel much more comfortable. I think this is because, mixed in amongst the larger themes, are smaller more relatable ones like self-worth and love meaning we are almost unaware of the deep thoughts the film inspires.
Having said that I’m not sure I felt completely comfortable, which I quite liked. The end of the world shouldn’t be an easy experience but I didn’t find it totally uncomfortable either. I enjoyed the film but still felt a little disappointed at the end. I understand why they ended it the way they did and the points they were trying to make but it doesn’t answer all of the questions we have. Perhaps that is on purpose as we will never know everything there is to learn and it’s most likely not important.
The script is good and the dialogue feels natural. Barklem-Biggs carries the film and gives a very good performance – he expresses many layers of his character and makes him so interesting even though in real life his character is someone we would not look twice at. To want a character to be correct about the end of the world is the premise of every disaster movie out there but knowing Tristan has accepted his mortality puts a whole new spin on it. We can’t be sure there will be an attack and if there is, will Tristan survive? Some Candid Observations on the Eve of the End of the World feels like such a delightful mash-up of genres from drama and comedy to elements of psychological thriller.
Tristan may not be the most educated man but he has some very valid points to make about the world and relationships (and eyebrows) which we could all learn from. Let’s not wait until the end of the World to do so!
“Some Candid Observations on the Eve of the End of the World” and behind the scenes bundle is available now on We Are Colony.