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The Independent Critic

Elsa Kennedy, Cheska Zaide, Kent Harper, Steven Michael Martin
Joe Bartone
97 Mins.
Small Factory Films

 Movie Review: Everything Will Be Fine in the End 
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I'm a sucker for kindness. I'm also a sucker for the grit and grime of real life. Truthfully, there's not a whole lot of kindness to be found inside writer/director Joe Bartone's ultra-indie Everything Will Be Fine in the End, a darkly comical tale of three twenty-something grifters - George (Elsa Kennedy), Kai (Steven Michael Martin), and Renka (Cheska Zaide) - living a meaningless existence in the L.A. underbelly where aspiration tends to get smothered to death by mere survival. 

While kindness may be in short supply in Everything Will Be Fine in the End, it was that initial whiff of it radiating from Bartone's e-mail that crossed my desk not long before I was headed out for major surgery secondary to a cancer diagnosis. Having decided to take some time off for surgery and an expected extended recovery, it's safe to say my e-mail has run the gamut from respectful to patronizing to "I clearly haven't read your guidelines and am coming off like a complete jerk right now."

Truthfully, it's been mostly the latter. 

Bartone's was different and it was appreciated. It didn't make my jump out of my chair and review his film, of course. I couldn't. It did, however, make me think that as my body would allow it would be his film that would become one of my priorities. 

Now then, before you start thinking that The Independent Critic has gotten soft and sentimental rest assured that a review is still a review in my world and an honest review is still required no matter how much I appreciate Bartone's consideration. So, it's also my pleasure to say that this darkness-tinged indie project with over 20 awards to its name is a definite winner for those who appreciate the more original and slightly experimental side of the microcinema world. 

Elsa Kennedy is an absolutely balls to the walls blast as George, a feisty young woman with a penchant for petty crime and hanging out with the wrong crowd. She's arguably the leader of her trio, not necessarily officially so but seemingly because she seems to have the loudest and boldest personality. When their latest grift goes wildly awry inside the home of Julia (Holly Rockwell, whose persona here feels like it's been peeled off the side of a Warhol can), the trio turns to Buzz (an absolutely inspired Kent Harper) despite the fact that George herself is seemingly always in debt to the supposed private eye. 

It's difficult to describe the story that unfolds in Everything Will Be Fine in the End, though it's not particularly complex. Bartone refuses to romanticize these inglourious schmucks, their seemingly inconsequential decisions adding up to almost nil within the urban sprawl that is Los Angeles. At times, I found myself thinking of A Clockwork Orange. Everything Will Be Fine in the End never quite aims that high philosophically, though tonally I found similarly rhythms amidst Bartone's own immersive original score and the lensing by Jose Zambrano Cassella. Holly Rockwell's production design is similarly glorious. 

Released by Small Factory Films, you can rent Everything Will Be Fine in the End on Amazon Prime Video.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic