Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes 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.


E-Mail Updates