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In many ways, bankers have long been a reliable villain in movies, though recently, have experienced a sort of resurgence with a number of titles painting banks in shadow again. With End Of Fall, money is the manner for why things go dark, though much more leads a desperate farmer to act when it comes to protecting his daughter. And with any good revenge story, it has to be about the motive, a compelling reason that lures the pure into marshaling a once unknown fury within to take action. Usually that involves family, a loved one harmed or worse, though for End Of Fall it is both that and a bitter relationship that has long festered between two different men, one with a clear power over the other.
Jackson Nelson (Blaise Miller) lost his wife and is trying to raise his teen daughter Emily (Claire Gordon-Harper), a precocious high schooler whose best friend is Josh Carter (Jake McLean), the son of Derek (Kyle Sing), a banker about to foreclose on Jackson’s farm. Derek’s an icy type, not interested in compassion, only money. He’s also tough on his son, excessively so, and the boy often seeks refuge with the Nelsons. When a deadly situation arises that puts Jackson on the other end of the power, revenge draws out from him a dark side that reshapes the relationships between everyone.
Written and directed by Joselito Seldera, End Of Fall is a slow burn where our own expectations about what these characters are and their role in the story seem continuously at odds. Like many in the genre, we are meant to ask, “What would I do?” and the film offers plenty of opportunities for such, even if a few of these moments are fairly obvious. Seldera paints in broad strokes for much of the early story, defining traits that purposefully establishes expectations and while these characteristics are boldly drawn, there are shifts in the second half that betray them enough to shudder what we think is happening.
Early choices by Seldera make falling in line pretty easy, with Derek a downright nasty antagonist, his snidely taunting of Jackson stepping stones for bridging the chasm between who we believe Jackson is and what he becomes, although it might have been more interesting if Derek were a more sympathetic character. As it is, he’s so aggressively hostile, we are willing to support what Jackson commits to, and does so with his own brand of coldness, a history between the two men slowly emerging and framing his actions. Seldera is working toward a reversal and it mostly works, thanks to a second half that grips far better than the first.
End Of Fall is a moody film, with a limited, stripped down score and few locations, a character study of bitterness between two rivals whose fates leave a trail of destruction. There are no heroes in the story, only victims, and a final shot hits hardest when the answer to the above question means no one finds peace. Well-directed and featuring solid performances, End Of Fall may feel familiar, but nonetheless should have you thinking on it long after its over.
Movie description: End Of Fall is a 2017 crime thriller about a widower who attempts to cover up an accidental death, only to come face to face with his darkest ambitions for revenge.
Director(s): Joselito Seldera
Actor(s): Blaise Miller, Kyle Sing, Claire Gordon-Harper
Genre: Drama, Thriller