Film review: “Goodbye World” offers an alternative look at the apocalypse

Dennis Henry Hennelly’s apocalypse film, “Goodbye World,” premieres this Friday at the Boedecker Theater in Boulder.

Unlike recent apocalypse-themed movies, “Goodbye World,” written by Hennelly and Colorado native Sarah Adina Smith, looks at the personal relationships tested by such a catastrophic event. The end of the world drives the film’s plot, but it is not its primary focus.

The film starts when a virus-bearing mass text with the message “Goodbye World” is sent to every cell phone and computer in the world. This virus begins to shut down all electronic devices and networks, quickly launching a global cyber attack. The result: a technological apocalypse that plunges modern civilization into a downward spiral. Mayhem ensues as the filmmakers comment on society’s complete dependence on today’s high-tech conveniences.

At the outset of the cyber attack, the audience is introduced to the film’s main characters, a group consisting mostly of former college friends. The northern California home of James (Adrian Grenier) and Lily (Kerry Bishé), with its stock of medicine and preserved food, serves as a safe haven for this eclectic crowd.

Among the friends seeking refuge are Laura (Gaby Hoffman), Benji (Mark Webber), Lev (Scott Mescudi, a.k.a Kid Cudi), Nick (Benjamin McKenzie) and his wife Becky (Caroline Dhavernas). This unexpected reunion sparks old flames and tensions, putting the film on edge for most of its 99 minutes.

The characters’ self-absorption in these relatively inconsequential personal issues is tiresome and shallow. Most of the characters seem determined to make scenes as uncomfortable as possible, as the audience witnesses them bicker time and time again. Some scenes border on the ridiculous: Lily, during the collapse of modern civilization, screams that she wants a divorce; the neighbors steal iodine crystals to make crystal meth.

The constant presence of weed, a silly talent show and a surprisingly tasteful hip-hop soundtrack, featuring artists Atmosphere and Jurassic 5, alleviate the constant stress. During one of the movie’s lighter moments, Ariel (Remy Nozik) performs an acapella version of Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$).”

“Goodbye World” offers its audience a different perspective on what can go wrong during the end of the world, investigating how relationships need personal maintenance in times of tremendous stress. While the characters’ quirks might frustrate some viewers, the film’s plot movement and suspense will keep audiences engaged.

“Goodbye World” premieres at 4 p.m. this Friday, April 4, at the Boedecker Theater. Writer Sarah Adina Smith will be answering questions after the 7:30 p.m. showing Saturday evening, April 5. The film will also be screening in June at the 20th Los Angeles Film Fest.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kevin Joyce at 

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