*/**** Image A Sound A- Extras D
starring Colin Farrell, Dallas Roberts, Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek
screenplay by Michael Cunningham, based on his novel
directed by Michael Mayer
by Walter Chaw Glib, facile, essentially misguided, and exhibiting a kind of misunderstanding about film craft that sends exactly the opposite of the intended message in every scene, Michael Mayer's directorial debut A Home at the End of the World is a trial from start to finish. It makes appalling soundtrack choices first in establishing period, then in demolishing mood, and finally in screwing up the chronology enough so that the viewer is left completely unmoored. If you're using a jovial Seventies soundtrack to place your film in the Seventies, it's a really bad idea to start using a classic Motown soundtrack when your picture actually moves forward in time. (Not even mentioning what a perverse boner it is to accompany the discovery of a dead father with "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard.") Add to that a screenplay by The Hours scribe Michael Cunningham that displays the same kind of top-heavy, more or less off-base pretension and disdain for such outmoded values as loyalty and generosity, and what you have is a recipe for a very particular kind of disaster.