Alexandra Shipp and Famke Janssen are the shining lights in an otherwise bland YA Ghost remake. Endless and its stars performance deserved better.
When madly in love high school graduates Riley (Alexandra Shipp) and Chris (Nicholas Hamilton) are separated by a tragic car accident, Riley blames herself for her boyfriend’s death while Chris is stranded in limbo. Miraculously, the two find a way to connect. In a love story that transcends life and death, both Riley and Chris are forced to learn the hardest lesson of all: letting go.
As Riley and co grieve for Chris, he has to learn to live and accept his death and cope in this Limbo world and is shown the ropes by Jordan (DeRon Horton) someone who died 30 years prior and appears to be enjoying this purgatory world. As Riley’s state of mind worsens, Chris tries his best to help her before it is too late. The script issues begin from the start and drag the whole way through to the credits in a 90-minute film that had no right or reason to be as long as it did.
There are a lot of teen romance tropes (and general romance ones to be fair) in Endless that you could play bingo and win easy. A couple from different sides of the track, with the poorer raised by a single working-class parent. One with all the ability in the world and to do what their family says college wise. Yet their true talent is in another subject that the family would rather she not go down. The cool guy with the motorbike. Listen, the list could go on and at no point are the writers of Endless setting out to reinvent the wheel. However, it would not hurt the film if some things were mixed up a little.
Director Scott Speer has done some great work here in making the film feel as fresh as possible. He has some experience in this genre and can navigate it well and is usually helped by having a great lake to film for the connection scenes. As with the script (we will get there). Speer goes slightly wayward when we get into the limbo world, but shines with his experience in the real-world scenarios.
The issue with Endless is that it is so pitched towards the younger market that older audiences would struggle to fully give themselves to the movie in the knowledge that Ghost exists. Though to be fair with “Endless” it isn’t a bad idea to have a remake centered more to a teenage demographic.
Financially it makes all the sense in the world. The problem is the result of what we get in the film. For the audience to be invested in these characters to give us a narrated look at their love story feels short-changed. We get glimpses of it, yet not enough. For a film that drags out other subplots, it could have used more time getting the audience to feel the lost romance between Riley and Chris. As all we are left with is an all too fleeting look at high school love.
It also doesn’t help that Nicholas Hamilton is sleepwalking through the entire film. He has just died and other than feeling a little down, he seems to be going along with it just fine. It would have suited his character and the film for the first few weeks or even months to go by quickly. So by the time we get to this version of Chris, we can relate as the shock will have gone. Hamilton fails at showing a character who is hurt, confused and lost at having to remain in this world but dead. He needed to give more than what he does and other than just a few tears and screams. We see nothing that feels authentic. Luckily for audiences, one actor is holding up the film.
Alexandra Shipp, however, is a stand above the rest of the cast here as she tries to battle the loss of causing the death of Chris. Coupled with the repercussions of that amongst those around her. She is an example of a well-developed character that is missing throughout the rest of the film. Riley is slowly unravelling as the film progresses as the guilt and pain grow. She is walking towards the edge and Shipp can convey that emotion with ease and is a reason does as well as it does. Without a doubt one to watch out for.
The rest of the cast is nowhere near developed as her. While she is the lead and that should be the case. It does help to have something for the supporting cast to work with. Otherwise, all we are left with are stereotypical characters. The film falters right from the script stage. We spend far too much time with the weak link of the film and not enough time with Shipp. Her character is unravelling and you truly begin to dread for where what direction the film might go down. Yet we are sent off back to Chris and Jordan. Away from the characters actually driving the film by showing actual grief and loss is almost unforgivable.
This is also the same for Famke Janssen, as Chris’ mother Lee. She is falling apart at losing her only child and is nonstop wearing his jacket so as not to let him go. We needed more time with her because when we do Endless works. Scenes with Riley and Lee work the best as the focus of grief of someone so young is an investing idea.
Endless is a harmless film that without some great direction and a star performance from Alexandra Shipp becomes instantly forgettable. This is thanks to an underwhelming script and a positively bland performance from Hamilton. Such a waste of an idea and star performance. It should have been an easy home run.
Endless will be available on Digital Download from 23rd November and can be a pre-ordered here
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