The proliferation (and popularity) of dystopian Y.A. sci-fi movies suggests that today’s youth are fascinated by the potential for apocalypse. Movies like Go North, however, suggest that filmmakers have already run out of inventive ways to dramatize such doomsday scenarios.
In Matt Ogens’s snoozy indie, an unidentified calamity has left the world a gone-to-seed junkyard where kids live together, without adult supervision, in ruthless communities. After attracting hostility from bully Gentry (James Bloor), nerdy Josh (Jacob Lofland) and his crush Jessie (Sophie Kennedy Clark) abandon their commune for the mysterious northlands — a journey that motivates Gentry and Jessie’s brother Caleb (Patrick Schwarzenegger) to pursue, and that is marked by one nonevent after another.
Whether they’re sleeping in a boat, perusing an abandoned library, or crossing a river with the help of a one-eyed ferryman, Josh and Jessie function as cardboard cutout protagonists for an end-of-the-world fantasy that — apparently due to a lack of both imagination and budget — amounts to a suspense-free stroll through rural landscapes where rarely-seen-onscreen dogs are the only real danger.
By the time director Ogens is shooting a speeding car from innumerable consecutive angles in an attempt to juice another incident, it’s clear that, alongside electricity and clean drinking water, one of the casualties of Go North‘s Armageddon was artistic inspiration.
Directed by Matt Ogens
Gunpowder & Sky
Opens January 13, Cinema Village
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 11, 2017