Eye For Film >> Movies >> The End Of The Lonely Island (2016) Film Review
The End Of The Lonely Island
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Ren Chao Wang's debut offers a melancholy study of loneliness for two scientists, while also touching on larger existential themes, including human's notion of time. Although it runs at just over an hour, its trim length allows Wang to keep his themes concentrated and means that the rather 'talky' nature of the action doesn't outstay its welcome too much.
Lin Xia (Liao Xi) is at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, while her boyfriend Zhi Yuan (Tian Duo Duo) is a space pioneer and Wang sinuously lets the story of their past and present interwine on the lonely island of the title. Lin Xia is making a desperate return visit to the isolated spot in a bid to stop humanity from extinction - a plot element that is also woven into the story of the pair.
Wang handles his flashbacks with grace, with Lin Xia often coming to scrutinise her memory of events, showing how even when faced with the ultimate existential threat, mankind's tendency is to focus on the everyday issues that clutter our lives. The director adds an element of tension by showing that Lin Xia is in a race against time and maintains a decent amount of intrigue in all his story elements by drip feeding in the back story gradually. The film could have lived without Lin Xia being pursued, since the shadowy government element of the action is under-explored and the drive to save the world provides more than enough of threat to keep the stroy moving.
The science-fiction elements, as in the best of these sorts of films, are well handled. There not to impress us with CGI, but as a conduit through which to examine human emotions. For all the scientific advancements and achievements, Wang probes at the way humanity's desire for survival and connection remain our chief drivers, with even the island residents once desperate for exploration and new experience. As one of the characters neatly puts it, "It's the loneliness that will kill us first".Reviewed on: 01 May 2017