Life Just Is, 2012
Written and Directed by Alex Barrett
Starring Will de Meo, Jack Gordon, Nathaniel Martello-White, Fiona Ryan, Paul Nicholls, Jayne Wisener and Rachel Bright
Pete, Tom, Claire and Jay are university graduates having trouble making the move into adult life.
Have you ever seen a film where nothing happens? I’m not talking about movies that feel like nothing happens like Kevin Smith’s 1994 cult classic Clerks, but a movie in which literally nothing happens apart from people standing around talking. Scene after scene of uninteresting, bland morons talking to each other with no plot progression, character development or point. This is one of the toughest movies I have ever sat through for all the wrong reasons.
Life Just Is is the feature-length debut of writer/director Alex Barrett and it tells the “story” of a group of ‘tokens’ trying to adjust to adult life after graduating from University. To do this, they work rubbish jobs, sit around and talk about the troubles of life. These ‘tokens’ include the gay one, the black one, the arty one, the existentialist, the posh one and an Irish one to complete the set. Oh, and there is a slightly older boyfriend (played by Paul Nicholls from Law & Order UK) who works in IT. These “characters” are driven by their stereotypes during their boring conversations as well as their boring screen lives. No one has any true character progression or character aspirations. They just exist on screen for seemingly pointless reasons.
It’s actually quite astounding just how little happens in Life Just Is. I get that Barrett was trying to emote “real life” in a film format, but the reason we watch movies is to escape from “real life”. As I’m writing this review, I am sitting in my office watching The X-Files and staring at the computer screen. While I’d like to think I am an interesting person, the most exciting thing in that scenario is the X-Files on TV. “Real life” can be dull at times and we use movies as a form of escapism because there isn’t a medium quite like it. Putting “real life” for what it truly is on screen just leads to an incredibly unremarkable experience.
What really annoys me about Life Just Is (aside from its snore-inducing existence) is that it thinks it’s really saying something. There is a theme running throughout of one of the ‘tokens’ discovering God which leads to several dull theological discussions. These scenes don’t say anything new about the existence of God or about why people believe – but it thinks it is. The film also tries to make a social commentary on how we view race in London and how some may consider them to be “terrorists”, which leads to a hilariously bad scene where one of the characters thinks he’s spotted a terrorist because he’s foreign and has a limp.
Life Just Is feels like a third year University project that accidentally ended up in movie theatres. It’s a boring and bland movie where nothing happens. It thinks it’s being clever by asking hard hitting questions, but the only thing it challenges is your ability to stay awake while you listen to the most self-indulgent and poorly written characters spout utter drivel. I can’t say that it’s the worst movie I have ever seen, but it is definitely the most boring.
Life Just Is is an hour and a half of my life I will never get back.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ / Movie ★