The End We Start From - Review (London Film Festival 2023)
This Isn't How It's Supposed to Be. 3.5 / 5
Directed by Mahalia Belo.
As London is submerged below floodwaters, a woman gives birth to her first child. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety.
Jodie Comer leads this intimate story amongst the madness as Britain is thrown into disarray after an ecological crisis floods the country forcing many to flee and fight for their lives.
It's refreshing to see an independent British film with such an ambitious scale considering the size of its budget. It shows just enough for the audience to feel the repercussions of its apocalyptic setting, playing into the chaos of reality over the past few years. With inventive and functional filmmaking techniques it manages to keep the stakes personal which helps to ground the film while establishing the wider consequences.
Comer elevates an already admirable film, giving weight to the narrative by carrying the story largely by herself. As with many of her performances, she proves that she is easily one of the industry's finest new talents, taking on significant and hard-hitting roles seemingly with ease. Many of Britain's best show up in smaller supporting roles but are fortunately used sparingly, keeping Comer front and centre, always putting the story first rather than overusing familiar faces.
Director Mahalia Belo and writer Alice Birch have created a film that builds tension through the fear of the unknown. With a drained colour palette, there is a sense of hopelessness with only Jodie Comer's central performance being the driving force in the hope of a cathartic release that may never come.