Synopsis: Full of misgivings, a young woman travels with her new boyfriend to his parents’ secluded farm. Upon arriving, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him and herself.
I was strongly advised to read the book before the film was released, and I am so glad I did. In comparison, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the film was good, just not great. The book, by Iain Reid, delivered a much more sinister undertone throughout and, therefore, a much more enjoyable and captivating experience. The book worked extremely well by casting a air of mystery via character monologues which integrated into this fantastic, suspense driven novel.
As good as the book was, sometimes it felt slow and can be difficult to get through. This was down to extended monologues, expanding on introspective scenes. As it progresses, the tension builds leading to an ending that is well worth the pay off. It really excels as a psychological thriller as the reader is cast ruthlessly into the mind of the main character, absorbing the reader into the subjective confusion of the situation, tearing down the psyche and boundaries to this person’s morbid reality. This book is evidently polarizing, and is not for everyone, but I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a psychological horror.
The film, adapted by the fantastic Charlie Kaufaman, feels like it employs a much more dream-like atmosphere. I absolutely adored Kaufaman’s other work in the form of Being John Malkovich and was extremely excited to see Jesse Plemons in a main role, along side an all star cast. In my opinion, this lacked any sinister undertone which the booked pioneered so well, and instead opted for a funny, idiosyncratic approach. I’m all for a director putting their own spin on things and I believe some viewers will prefer the movie over the book, but I see this as an opportunity missed. That said, it is beautifully shot and and definitely does work as an indie thriller. The mid-section of the movie is definitely the highlight; the narrative starts to becomes bundled together, appearing non-linear, coupled with extremely peculiar circumstances, the film really starts to build on what the book was trying to achieve. As a whole it takes the viewer in a much more transcendent direction. If I hadn’t read the book prior to viewing the film, I think my opinion would have been much different.
Both the film and the book creates a sense of absurdity, this is no way a straight forward film, but I would recommend both to fans of indie thrillers. The film won’t quickly leave your mind and sits there in stagnation as you try to pick apart and piece together what you have just experienced. A story of hope and connection; I’m thinking about I’m Thinking of Ending Things.