2021, NR, 91 min. Directed by Alex Knapp. Starring Alex Knapp, Olivia Luccardi, Nore Davis, Thomas Essig, Bettina Skye.
REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Jan. 22, 2021
In "Time Enough at Last," the famous episode of The Twilight Zone, Burgess Meredith's bookworm thought he would relish the joy of having the world to himself. He may have been caught out by unexpected circumstances before he could enjoy his isolation, but the story pointed to a truth: some people would be better suited to apocalyptic isolation than others. Adam (writer/director Knapp) was always OK with being alone - or at least, in his awkwardness, had become a seasoned veteran at it. Now he's on a suddenly empty world, devoid of all other humans, and he's developed a few additional coping skills. He still clocks in at his job at a garage, like he would before whatever it was that happened happened, but now he leaves messages on the phone for himself, and buries light bulbs when they burn out. Yet his habit of leaving traps in abandoned houses, the way he sets the bell on the shop counter just in case, his habit of filling a food bowl for an unseen dog, shows that even he hasn't given up all hope on some kind of contact, much as his unexpected romance with K (Luccardi) gave him an emotional connection to the world before she – and it – disappeared.
Go/Don't Go is as much poetic metaphor as post-apocalyptic drama, with Adam slowly fraying as he contends with the aloneness that he thought he already knew. It's a tonal piece: often quite literally, as the post-rock score, supplemented by a mix of electronica, neo-folk, and experimental soundscapes, amplifies Collin Davis' back-and-forth editing from Adam's present to the past that he consistently recalls moments and fragments of what has gone before and is gone forever. There's a pervasive mournfulness, with no explanation to how he got there (that light bulb cemetery is a place of proxy grief, because whatever happened to humanity left no bodies to bury). Instead, Adam's path is one of coming to terms with his emptiness.
It's The Last Man on Earth with no light-fearing mutants, The Battery with no zombies - a post-apocalyptic movie without any of the uncanny add-ons. It's just one man in isolation, dealing with his tumble of emotion. That's what makes Go/Don't Go so initially simple, even bland, and so intriguing as it progresses. Knapp's script is ultimately about how we are trapped in our own pasts, and even when they can seem like a pillow they can become an anchor. It's a soft, sad, yet insistent message that, even as the grass overtakes the baseball pitch where Adam practices, and even as the last windmills slow their spin, becomes a quiet voice of hope.
God/Don't Go is available now on VOD.