REVIEW: End-of-the-world saga an underrated cinematic joy

There’s something incredible and enigmatic in the simplicity of Casey Affleck’s presence.

As writer-director-star here, he takes the story of a world where a pandemic has eliminated swaths of women, and shows the way humanity deals following the meltdown of existence.

Affleck — true to Oscar-winning form — takes a story covered in sci-fi films like Children of Men, and brings a sensitivity, grace and desperation to the proceedings that gives it all a quiet renewal.

He is one of the strongest actors of his generation — a better on-screen performer than his older brother Ben — and the nonchalant way he displays 1,000 emotions with his eyes, expressions and actions are the definition of the phrase ‘show, don’t tell.’

Affleck gives a magnetic turn here, and he’s joined by Anna Pniowsky, a daughter he disguises as a son to keep her from the dangers and perils of a community almost fully comprised of men.

The story of a virus that hit the female population, leaving uncertainty in its wake, is focused on the things people do to survive after their normal lives have been stripped from them.

Though not the most original piece, it’s far more than the sum of its parts, due to confident direction from Affleck, and his steady, sterling performance.

Available on-demand, on digital and in theatres today, this is one of the low-key gems of the year.

4/5 Stars

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