The Sense of an Ending Reviewed by Jarred Tito

The Premise
A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life.

The Review
A cleverly thought out plot, with a somewhat relaxed pace, that will still manage to hook you in to the myriad of skeletons and covered up stories of a former flame. Romantic endeavors intertwine through both the past and the present leaving Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent) flabbergasted and spent.

Jim Broadbent plays the part of a retired gentleman who runs a shop for exotic and rear 35ml cameras. He receives a letter from his past, from the deep past, which ignites a series of thoughts and ponderings which ultimately get the better of his curiosity and lead him down the path of not just memories, but also to an old friendship long forgotten and possibly despised, as well as to an old flame that he becomes [semi] obsessed with. Meanwhile, his daughter is giving birth to her first child of which he is has been appointed chief caregiver and support due to his ex-wife’s physical situation. And so, the plot thickens.

This is one of Broadbent’s better performances in which he, at times, lets his guard down and really tackles the role head on. He is perfectly cast in the role of an aging, retired divorcee. There are a few times, during the film, when you can almost feel the awkwardness and emotional pain of his character as he is confronted with wave after wave of memories of his days as a young student studying at university back in the 1960s. He also has to deal with new pieces of information that begin to cloud his interpretation of past events which in turn force him to swallow his pride and cast aside former resentments and prejudices.

The story telling, by director Ritesh Batra, is subtle and detailed, light and profound. What I really admired was that although the events of his former relationship are revealed, there is still a corner or doubt and greyness to the story which keeps alive the whole curiosity of both characters and film audience alike.

There are significant amounts of flashbacks throughout the film too. It’s almost as though two parallel story threads are running independently of each other. Each story is complete in its own right and each story has its own point of interest. However, the cleverness of the film is how the two timelines interact. Each providing key bits of information for the other and each taking you deeper into the plot.         

The Verdict
An enjoyable suspense/thriller and mystery/murder film that doesn’t have the thriller and murder parts. It’s more like a drama that has suspense and mystery. I might even liberally describe it as an Agatha Cristie story minus the crime? If you’re a lover of British film then this is a BBC production that you won’t want to miss.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 18th May 2017
Rating: M – Contains Sex scenes & offensive language
Duration: 108 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter
Director: Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox)

The Extras
At a festival screening in San Francisco, Ritesh Batra said that he had tea with Julian Barnes, author of The Sense of an Ending, ahead of filming. Batra was so nervous at meeting Barnes that he subsequently forgot most of their conversation, save for Barnes's parting line, spoken in jest: "Go ahead and betray me."

Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, and Edward Holcroft all appear together in BBC's miniseries London Spy (2015).

Matthew Goode and Emily Mortimer previously appeared in Match Point (2005).