Goodbye World

August 19, 2014

 

Goodbye World is so bad that it’s good. It so foozles the understanding of the human condition that it turns, inside out, the discombobulating of the filmmaker’s interpretation of what it means to be human into a demonstration of what is wrong with upholding weakness as virtuousness.

 

This framework is possible because the technical merits of the plot mechanics are not disbelieving. In Goodbye World there is a civilizational freeze, where the world as we know it abruptly ends. It’s not important why or how. What is important is witnessing the setting of the story on a survivalist farm on top of a hill in Northern California, and the character’s that take to inhabiting it as things go rotten.

 

The farm was built and stocked by the lead, which the film makes a drive-by at valuing his daughter’s upbringing over the neediness of his wife. In fact unless it was pointed out, or actually forced upon the viewer, one would think everything was hunky dory. Slowly the plot thickens where we have a reunion with the old college mates, very reminiscent of The Big Freeze, except even in that film the solipsism if any, does not touch what is on display here.

 

The world is conceivably at an end. And what matters most? Smoking pot. And hot-tubing. It almost is a visceral vacation from the hectic hustle and bustle of the daily grind which probably compels some viewers to indeed envy these folks who now have to live closer to their primordial ancestors. Yet with 21st century molded narcissism, where they are completely detached from the laws of nature.

 

And this is terrifically, accidentally, celebrated by the survivalist, of all people, refusing to carry a gun. It is such a horrible insight, it is such a flaw to someone preparing to survive the worst of humanity and yet behaves as a pacifist when brutishness invariably returns to the landscape of the planet, that it turns the script into an expose in meekness. This meekness was just hinted at from those fantasizing about a catharsis of living life in the present, hoping for a pseudo-apocalypse to return them to a noble savage state of life. It is this lust for a simpler time, where paying bills and electricity isn’t needed and that has charmed many when they tour the death of Europe that is exactly the reason for their mortality. By not striving for being beyond their humanity, these who find comfort in not possessing duty or responsibility and wish to revert themselves to childishness, as we see indicated in how the posse in the film passes the time, are dragged by those who have a more vital will-to-power.

 

Or, they are murdered, which is why Goodbye World is an inadvertent NRA propagandistic work on the merits of gun ownership. When might makes right, the only defense to the animalism buried deep beneath each human’s skin is the act of violence. Meekness however is ashamed of this necessity. It cries when it is forced, out of its own necessity to be, to kill. No, it is not to say the converse is to be gleeful to take the life of another human. But it is to make factual the necessity for self-defense as an element for proper living.

 

The film ends with a perverted utopic ideal, something an environmentalist would masturbate to, that the meek, dispossessed of their responsibilities to civilization, now inherit the earth. It is such a catastrophic vision of reality that the absurdity dialectically exposes the beauty of the truth of how man orders his being.

 

Grade: B-

 

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