Everything in the End Courtesy of PIFF

If you knew that the end of the world was imminent, how would you spend your final days?

Personally, I’d probably spend them taking edibles, listening to my favorite music, and eating my weight in Girl Scout cookies. But Everything in the End, part of this year’s Portland International Film Festival lineup, provides a slightly more introspective answer, producing a film about the end of the world that’s heartfelt rather than bombastic.

In Everything in the End, we see the impending apocalypse through the eyes of Paulo, a young Portuguese man who’s traveled to a small Icelandic village during the Earth’s final days. We know Paulo is taking the trip in memory of his mother, who recently passed away and had always wanted to visit Iceland, but it’s unclear whether Paulo traveled to Iceland before or after learning that the world would soon end. We also don’t get a definite answer as to what’s prompting the apocalypse, though through vague references in dialogue, one could assume it has something to do with climate change or war-mongering politicians. “All the lies, and all the shit they did… I’m kind of glad it’s over,” Paulo tells one Icelandic woman he crosses paths with.”

That’s the bulk of the movie: Paulo traversing the imposingly beautiful Icelandic landscape, having fleeting end-times conversations with strangers he comes across. One man prompts Paolo into a kind of pathetic fist fight, as a way to feel something as everything becomes meaningless; a single mother welcomes Paolo into her home on the condition that he won’t reference the impending apocalypse; an older woman who takes Paolo in as his houseguest reflects on her well-lived life.

Along the way, we learn more about Paulo’s deep grief for his mother. As everyone around him rushes to tie up loose ends, Paulo sits with the unfinished business he never got to resolve with his mother.

The film is shot with heavy close-ups, which can get tiring after a while—one can only gaze at a sad, silent face for so long before running out of things to project upon it. But the viewer can find relief in panoramic shots of the Icelandic shore and mountains, the latter of which plays a crucial role in Everything in the End’s conclusion.

I didn’t come out of this movie feeling like I’d gained much insight into the end times, or into the characters’ interiors. But for an apocalyptic film, it was a surprisingly lovely, relaxing way to spend 90 minutes.


Here's how you can stream Everything in the End as part of the Portland International Film Festival.