Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Sundance Review: Mark Webber's 'The End of Love' Moves With Minor-Key Moments & Undersold Skill

The Playlist By James Rocchi | The Playlist January 22, 2012 at 11:21PM

Written, directed by and starring Mark Webber -- whose acting filmography runs from "Kids" to "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" -- "The End of Love" is hardly a work of revelation. At the same time, it's surprisingly well-executed, nicely performed and manages to combine a warm and gentle sense of the rhythms of life with a cold and bright-eyed look at the world and its lead's flaws and character. Following his earlier directorial effort, "Explicit Ills," Webber plays Mark, an aspiring actor and successful fuck-up. We see him woken by his two-and-a-half-year-old son, Isaac (Isaac Love). Mark asks Isaac what he wants for breakfast -- cereal? Isaac is intent: "Oatmeal." Mark shoots him an askance glance: "But oatmeal takes longer than cereal, buddy.…"
1
The End Of Love

Written, directed by and starring Mark Webber -- whose acting filmography runs from "Kids" to "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" -- "The End of Love" is hardly a work of revelation. At the same time, it's surprisingly well-executed, nicely performed and manages to combine a warm and gentle sense of the rhythms of life with a cold and bright-eyed look at the world and its lead's flaws and character. Following his earlier directorial effort, "Explicit Ills," Webber plays Mark, an aspiring actor and successful fuck-up. We see him woken by his two-and-a-half-year-old son, Isaac (Isaac Love). Mark asks Isaac what he wants for breakfast -- cereal? Isaac is intent: "Oatmeal." Mark shoots him an askance glance: "But oatmeal takes longer than cereal, buddy.…"

After a disastrous audition, where Mark has to bring Isaac along (one of two glaringly false notes; call it professionalism or ego, but any aspiring actor would leave their child with a rabid wolverine and a corn thresher before possibly disrupting an audition), he and Isaac go to what Isaac calls "the flower park." It's the cemetery where Mark's wife, dead eighteen months, has been laid to rest. Mark's having a tough time of it, and one of the best things about the film is that it's perfectly clear that he may be making the time tougher on himself.

The End of Love

Mark's a loser and a bit of a deadbeat -- and, at the same time, shell-shocked and shattered. Webber apparently shot the film catch-as-catch-can with his actors, and the loose, improvisational style works for many of the film's scenes. (I am not going to praise a two-and-a-half-year-old child's "performance," but I will note that Webber works around his co-star's in-the-moment utterances and needs so smoothly, and so swiftly, as both a director and an actor that you can't help but be impressed by their interactions.) And when Mark decides to teach a hard lesson at the end, in part so he can learn it by teaching it, you feel his devastation.

But along the way, and interestingly, every time you want to feel sorry for Mark, he does something that makes you want to smack him. "Two hours" at a party becomes a drunken overnight stay, with Isaac left in the hands of a stranger. (The party also contains another false note, Michael Cera playing a particularly unconvincing variation on himself, wandering about a Hollywood Hills home with a pistol.) A play date, and tentative real date, with another single parent (Shannyn Sossamon) turns disastrous, with Mark interrupting a tentative make-out by breathing "I love you" into her ear over and over with the desperate ardor of a man repeating something so strenuously and seriously that it's like he's trying to wish it into truth. Many actors in self-created projects and indie films trip all over themselves in their eagerness to go for the jugular and play up to the dark side, depicting callousness, cruelty or evil with panache, but Webber's Mark is more mortal than that, more human, more carefully pitched -- and, most importantly, more like us.

The End Of Love

It's easy to see the line between fact and fiction blur into nothingness here -- Isaac is Webber's real son, although Isaac's real mother simply ended her relationship with Webber -- but there's also a real sense of art here. Cinematographer Patrice Cochet worked closely with Webber to shape the film's long-shot single takes, and also to capture no small amount of the real Los Angeles, its tow yards and corner groceries as well as its shining streets and shady palms. Elbert Hubbard said, "Life is just one damn thing after another," and it's to Webber's credit how expressively and naturally "The End of Love" conveys that with no small amount of insight, grace, humor and feeling. [B]

This article is related to: Sundance 2012 Reviews, The End Of Love


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates