‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ — a demanding drama with captivating performances

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is adapted from Iain Reid’s 2016 novel of the same name. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 September 2020

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ — a demanding drama with captivating performances

LONDON: Writer-director-producer Charlie Kaufman has built up a filmography that is a glorious mish-mash of dark surrealist comedy and existential pondering. But moviegoers hoping that “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is tonally close to some Kaufman’s most popular movies — “Being John Malkovich” or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” say — might be in for a surprise.

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things”  is by writer-director-producer Charlie Kaufman. (Supplied)

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” — adapted from Iain Reid’s 2016 novel of the same name — has, much like Kaufman’s other movies, a stellar cast turning in captivating performances. Jessie Buckley, excellent in 2019’s “Chernobyl” miniseries, plays a young woman contemplating her relationship with boyfriend Jake (“Breaking Bad” star Jesse Plemons) as the pair head to visit his parents, who are portrayed with unnerving eeriness by David Thewlis (Remus Lupin in the “Harry Potter” films) and Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”). After an uncomfortable evening, the two journey home through a snowstorm, the air of unease between them a palpable presence during the film’s second half.

To reveal too much more would be to hamstring the more crucial absurdities of the movie, but Kaufman’s use of unreliable narration, meandering monologues and surreal asides makes for a beguiling mix, albeit one that relies on absolute attention — “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” can be a tough movie to keep track of. A parallel plot following an elderly janitor cleaning a high school becomes increasingly pertinent to the film’s (somewhat) bewildering final third, as Kaufman asks the audience to consider how much, if any, of what they’ve seen is even true.

The runtime (clocking in at more than two hours) asks a lot of the audience, particularly as some of the movie’s more dreamlike elements tend to drag. The ending may be a bit of a head-scratcher, depending on how much you’ve been paying attention. Kaufman chooses to weave so many threads throughout the film, but doesn’t pull on them all during the finale.

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is unconventional, that’s for sure. Love him or loathe him, Kaufman remains one of Hollywood’s most distinctive voices.

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

However, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.