Beginning of summer, End of Animal

The May 6th opening of Thor signaled the opening of the summer movie season with all it’s sound, fury and, more often than not, lack of significance. That’s not to say that I won’t go see Thor, after all I was a big fan of Walt Simonson even through the whole Beta Ray Bill fiasco, but on the last day of April, I saw a film that is the antithesis of the standard summer fare.

End of Animal, by South Korean director Jo Sung-hee, made it’s U.S. premier at the San Francisco International Film festival and it was the third film I saw that day. The first two (which shall remain unnamed) where underwhelming, so I headed into the theater with a bit of hesitation. The festival mini-guide described End of Animal as follows;

A pregnant teenager finds herself in a taxi with a passenger who counts down to cataclysm. Cinematic clues that you’re in one movie genre will steer you wrong time and again, as this entrancing and deeply unsettling debut unwinds its small, personal tale of apocalypse with menace and dark humor.

Sometimes I come out of a film wondering if the person writing the description actually saw the film, but in this case, the description is spot on. End of Animal is yet another example that you don’t need a lot of effects to make an engrossing film. I will temper that by saying if you like a movie to answer questions, this probably isn’t the film for you. If, on the other hand, you like films with intriguing characters where you have no idea what’s going to happen next, try End of Animal.

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