The End of Us is one of the first films to be produced by the recently established Buzzfeed Studios and it feels, appropriately, like an extended skit. The lighting has the flattened quality of Buzzfeed’s viral videos, the camerawork the basic blocking of early YouTube sketches. It feels, quite simply, like content rather than cinema.

Perhaps this is an overly harsh critique but, in all fairness, it is difficult to feel warmly towards a film that makes its audience relive one of the worst collective traumas of recent years. A frontrunner in the new crop of pandemic cinema (a genre we can only hope ends more quickly than the pandemic), The End of Us is ostensibly a comedy about a young LA couple who break up the day before COVID-19 hits, and who are forced to spend the next several weeks locked down together.

There is, however, not much humour to be found here. This might be largely down to timing – there are very few people in the world who have it in them to laugh at a montage of early-April headlines and Trump blundering around – but there are uncomfortable notes to the script that jar no matter the context. The relationship between Nick (Ben Coleman) and Leah (Ali Vingiano) seems genuinely fraught (Leah’s friends ecstatic when they break up – never a good sign), yet their conflict is treated with the lightness of a screwball comedy, moments of anger – including Nick savagely smashing a glass when he realises Leah is dating – figured as pure battle of the sexes.

Both leads are charming, yet their performances are let down by a tonally incoherent script that just isn’t reading the room. Pandemic cinema is already a tricky sell – it needs to be a cut above to be worth the pain.



CAST: Ben Coleman, Ali Vingiano, Derrick DeBlasis, Gadiel Del Orbe

DIRECTORS: Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter

WRITERS: Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter

SYNOPSIS: After the World Health Organisation declares COVID-19 a pandemic, a freshly broken up couple are forced to live together during lockdown.