The post apocalyptic genre, in today’s filmic landscape, is about as over played as a sub genre like the “found footage” horror film. Action films like 2012 play as fodder for those with an appreciation for spectacle, while Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World plays as a far more intimate and emotionally bleak meditation on what the “end of the world” would mean for the psyche of the human spirit. However, we have yet to really see the sub genre mesh with a genre like the buddy road film, that is, until this year’s Slamdance Film Festival.
Best Friends Forever tells the story of two best friends looking to leave their home, and make it out in the world, on their own. Leaving LA to make it big in Austin, TX, the film is written and directed by its star, Brea Grant, and finds the pair (along with fellow writer and star Vera Miao) leaving at the perfect time, as the nation has fallen under nuclear attack. With the end of the world as they know it on the horizon, the pair find their relationship on the brink as well.
Shot on Super 16, the greatest aspect of this film is it’s aesthetics. Featuring gorgeous photography and grain within the frame that is as alive as the characters we meet throughout the picture, the film is a gorgeous piece of work. Intimate and yet extremely insightful and often times universal, the film’s visual style allows for the viewer to both become immersed in this world, and yet feel distant enough from it to allow the film to truly breath. Lensed by Michelle Lawler, Best Friends Forever is a wonderfully photographed comedy, and one that takes a startlingly feminine look at a genre that is often times the fodder for explosions, large amounts of bullets and far too few true flesh and blood characters.
The script is solid. The structure and ultimate arch of the film isn’t breaking any new ground, but the dialogue feels true, alive and real. Chemistry isn’t scarce between the two leads, as the pair play off one another as perfectly as one could hope, making it seem as though the likelihood that the two are actually extremely close high. The film thrives when these two are simply conversing with one another, as you garner so much about their relationship from the simplest of interactions. Roles are strict and set in place, but both have a past that proves they are far stronger than they could ever seem. It’s really quite a solid relationship comedy, just with the end of the world as a melancholy cloud hanging over the proceedings.
Overall, with a seemingly twee concept of giving us a road comedy with the end of the world involved, the film proves to have far more to say, and far more heart, than that. Using its apocalypse as nothing more than window dressing, the film has far more to say about human relationships than it does about anything else. Toss in a great sense of humor, and you have a solid, if a tad overlong and poorly paced, comedy about two friends with their relationship, and the world, on the brink.