"the redemptive tone of this film may just leave you pondering what would happen if you let a few things go of your own"

Everyone has one. Some people have several. For most people thought secrets are just the things that happen on Saturday night that you don’t want appearing on Facebook on Monday morning. 

London director, Jones (yes, that is their full name), debuts with ‘Everyone Must Die’ and attempts to answer the question of what happens when secrets fester and start to fashion the fundamental fabric of people’s lives. It considers the weight of these burdens and what people must do to shed the false identities that such secrets engender.

Set in the unlikely location for self-discovery of an English seaside town, 29-year-old German-born Melanie (Nora Tschirner) wakes up from a heavy night, declares herself lost, and realises there’s a lot more in life she wants to wake up from.

In a chance exchange in a cafe, with a view only those with active imaginations would appreciate, Melanie meets fifty-something Ray (Rob Knighton).  Ray has just returned to his home town for the first time in many decades, suited and booted for this brother’s funeral. It’s clear from the start that neither Melanie nor Ray feel at home either in their location, or their own skin and creates an unlikely, temporary pairing. Both are running away from something and both are searching for something more, even if they are completely oblivious to what that might be.

Ironically, Ray has made a career out of searching for people. “I find people who have run away,” he says. “I find people who don’t want to be found.” Think of him more as a gun-toting bounty hunter though rather than an affirmation-wielding, back-patting life coach. And if you are wondering where you have seen Ray before, unless you bought a carpet in Shoreditch (he was an East London carpet fitter until his recent transition into international modeldom), you may spot that he’s the current face of H&M, alongside that other chiselled chap, David Beckham.

For reasons that are never explained, Melanie and Ray decide to spend the day together. Their day takes them from screaming witches, to sexy roller-skating beavers, to washing their cares away in an impulsive sea-baptism of sorts. 

During their time together the pair gradually open up and share their burdens. Melanie confesses she has a reputation for quitting. She’s frequently told to do what she loves, but because she’s spent her life people-pleasing has no true idea of what she loves to do. With the big 3-0 looming, she’s feeling the vice of familial expectation turn even tighter. Similarly, Ray confesses an ancient burden of his own that’s clearly been troubling him since early in the film, if not since early in his life.  In a way that would be glib and ignored if anyone else had said it Melanie states that ‘the past is another country’. After some resistance, Ray absorbs this succinct wisdom.

When you spend your life denying who you are and denying what you’ve done, perhaps not knowing who you truly are, but always knowing what you are not, shame is your natural shadow.

This is a thought-provoking, unconventional rom-com, where ultimately the message is that if anything must die, it’s the past so that a new future can be born. When you are done being bugged by the songs you recognise in the soundtrack, but just can’t name, the redemptive tone of this film may just leave you pondering what would happen if you let a few things go of your own.