Producers: Max Gardner, Alex Knapp, Olivia Luccardi and Derek Brown Director: Alex Knapp Screenplay: Alex Knapp Cast: Alex Knapp, Olivia Luccardi, Nore Davis, Tom Essig, Bettina Skye and Zoey Wagner Distributor: Kamikaze Dogfight and Gravitas Ventures
Alex Knapp’s film—which he wrote and directed as well as starring in—can be taken either literally or figuratively. It might be a meditative post-apocalyptic tale, or an interior visual monologue about a man suffering from intense loneliness. The options are suggested by the introduction to the old “Outer Limits” show we hear playing on a TV near the start, which mentions “the inner mind” as well as “the outer limits.” The ambiguity, one supposes, is meant to be intriguing; but most viewers are apt to find it simply frustrating, especially since the film does go on.
Knapp is Adam, apparently the last man on earth, or at least in his town. He tries to maintain a semblance of normality by going through the motions. He goes to the store to replenish his supplies. He works on a truck in his garage. He watches TV and listens to the radio. (The power is still on.) And he wanders about the area, entering empty houses and removing light bulbs that have burned out and marking off places that are worth visiting (“go”) from those that aren’t (“don’t go”).
He also engages in some pastimes. His favorite outdoor occupation seems to be swinging a bat at baseballs launched by a pitching machine, but in one elaborately staged sequence he goes to a bowling alley, too.
As he lives this solitary life, experiences lead him to recall episodes in his former life. One takes him back to a party in a bar, where his pal Kyle (Nore Davis) urges him to loosen up and get out more, and he has an awkward meeting with K (Olivia Luccardi), with whom he strikes up a relationship that seems to become serious, even leading to his introduction to her parents (Tom Essig and Bettina Skye). But she suddenly disappears from the recollection.
What’s going on here? Is Adam really enduring the result of some unexplained phenomenon that has left him alone in his little universe? Or is he suffering from some mental breakdown that has exacerbated his social maladjustment, obvious from the flashback scenes, into something more serious? The ending appears to leave room for either hopefulness or delusion: perhaps Adam reconnects with his Eve, but maybe it’s only in his mind.
“Go/Don’t Go” is reasonably well made for a modest indie project—Fiona Wood’s production design, while pretty basic, is adequate, and Frank Turiano’s cinematography, though mostly lacking in flourishes (apart from the bowling alley sequence), is realistically glum. Collin Davis’ editing is hardly kinetic, but that’s part of the funereal narrative pace and general lack of incident, and the score by Evan Joseph, Luke Schwartz and Tom Essig is reasonably atmospheric.
But in the end the picture rests on Knapp, and in the writing-directing department he’s no Antonioni, and as an actor he doesn’t make Adam a sufficiently compelling character to sustain our interest and sympathy over the long haul. Luccardi and Davis offer more energy, but they’re not around enough to compensate.
The result is a morose exercise that will probably transfer its mood of existential angst all too effectively to the viewer.