END OF DAYS, INC – directed by Jennifer Liao – SPOILERS
The humour is dark in this surprisingly funny film, but no darker than an episode of Orphan Black. This is no romcom. If any of the characters has a romantic involvement, it is never mentioned, though one has a secret boyfriend whose photo comes to light when Oola demonstrates her pickpocket skills.
It gradually becomes apparent that Mr. Godfrey and his sister Esther (Anna Ferguson) have otherworldly powers, and that their employees help implement them. There are five such employees, and, in the beginning, each of them draws strength from an emotional crutch. Misty has her Ambergris Island dreams; Janet has her Nana to care for; Jason (Mark O’Brien) has a shaman named Steve. The aptly named Mort has his cat. Only Oola the cleaning lady is without such an external dependency, and she may be turning Mort into one. (We never see Steve the Shaman, and we get to see only a photo of Nana to go with her voice.) In the end, the surviving workers are stripped of these psychological comforts and forced to rely on themselves. All seven characters, owners and employees, comprise Godfrey Global Inventory, a company housed in a whitewashed building with black graffiti, to which an endless parade of delivery trucks brings boxes of punched cards from all over the world.
Nobody uses punch cards anymore, so what does Godfrey Global want with them? Punch cards are perhaps the only form of data storage that can be held in one’s hand and manually edited. Such a physical manifestation would be needed to apply sympathetic magic to the data. It’s not certain that’s what the Godfrey’s are doing, but it’s a pretty good guess.
The powers in play at Godfrey Global can manifest interestingly. For instance, cell phone signals are blocked inside the building, indicating much electromagnetic activity in the 700-800 MHz range, but everything visible is low-tech. Some television and radio signals seem to be received without difficulty.
Remember the Dr. Who episodes that begin with folks puzzling over strange happenings in the village/office/factory/spaceship? At some point the Tardis is attracted by the anomaly, materializes, and The Doctor pops out and has to figure out what’s going on. Well, END OF DAYS INC is kind of like that, only the Tardis never shows up and the employees of Godfrey Global Inventory have to figure things out on their own.
It is best to not watch the trailer. It does not do justice to the film, or to the excellent performances in it, especially Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as the hilarious Mort, Janet Porter as Misty, the receptionist who doesn’t really join the rebellion until her dreams of travel to the Ambergris Islands are drowned, and Paulino Nunes as the enigmatic Mr. Godfrey who seems at times quite inhuman, but still likes what Oola suggestively calls ‘tickle tickle’.
Christina Ray’s screenplay is a finalist for a 2016 Writers Guild of Canada Award. (Winners will be announced on 2 May.)
Paulino Nunes (Mr. Godfrey) is Detective Sean Reilly in FLOWER SHOP MYSTERY: SNIPPED IN THE BUD, which will next air on the Hallmark Channel on 3 May at 5pm. In the film, a flower shop owner finds an old law school rival murdered in his office and her fingerprints are found on the weapon. Nunes was Zael in LOST GIRL episode 2.1 Something Wicked This Fae Comes.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Mort) will be Marty Chen in SHOOT THE MESSENGER, the story of Daisy Channing (Elyse Levesque), a cub reporter whose life becomes very complex as she investigates corruption in city government. The one hour serialized crime drama is due to premiere this summer on CBC.