FILM: Don Hertzfeldt - Everything Will Be OK (2008)

Unwittingly, Don Hertzfeldt has become something of a viral internet sensation- there are probably five times as many people who could quote the “My spoon is too big/I am a banana!” gag from Rejected than there are people who actually know who this man is. The fact that Don Hertzfeldt is adamant that computers not be used to create or screen his works is lost in the quick-fire comedy potential of Rejected's many comic segments- seemingly made for sites like YouTube.

Perhaps this mutilation of his first true masterpiece has influenced his return to the long form- not features, mind, but short narrative pieces that are impossible to effectively compartmentalise for YouTube. Everything Will Be OK actually has a protagonist, Bob; and while a clear plot (in the traditional cause-and-effect sense of the word) is hard to discern or explain, it is definitely a work to be viewed in its entirety. It's hard to imagine Bob and his ex-girlfriend's pseudo-philosophical musings about death and space travel having nearly as much impact on YouTube as Rejected's “My anus is bleeding!” segment.

Something to get out of the way from the off- Everything Will Be OK, the first part of a planned trilogy, is better than the award-winning Rejected. It is, unreservedly, the best statement that Hertzfeldt has painstakingly etched frame-by-frame so far- just don't ask me to explain what that statement actually is. His trademark non-sequitur style of humour, perfected in Rejected, is now framed within a very human narrative, an intense downward psychological spiral. The real-world neuroses that he last visited in the overlooked Lily and Jim are painfully blown wide open before your very eyes, utilising even more bizarre hand-made animation effects than Rejected's chaotic final chapter- multiple irises and altered photographs give us a view of a fractured life that is somehow familiar.

It is, mind you, very funny. Not to give any of the gags away- but the deadpan narration is juxtaposed with the stick-figure imagery in many ways that couldn't fail to make you crack a smile. But if Muffassa's death in The Lion King didn't make you cry- the final act of Everything Will Be OK will. A minor animated masterpiece. Bring on part 2.


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