The World’s End centers on a group of five high school friends who reunite in their late 30s/early 40s to complete a 12-pub crawl that they were unable to finish at age 18. Almost all of them are tentative in their engagement with the night’s activities, and Wright and Pegg do an excellent job of gradually teasing out the shared history that pulled them apart. There are a lot of satisfying character beats because they aren’t all expositional and are revealed with time. It’s also electrifyingly funny, filled with quotable throw away lines and ridiculous conversations pulled off by the very talented cast of known and unknown British actors – there is not a weak link in the bunch. Full of twists and turns along this “Golden Mile”, it’s hard to not spoil, but the ending was a bit disappointing, in that it didn’t quite tie things together as it seemed to try to. Regardless, this is a good capper to this loose “trilogy”, and if you enjoyed Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, as I did, then you will certainly laugh your way through this one as well.
*** out of ****
Edgar Wright’s films abound with energy and move with a driving and insistent rhythm. As a director, he reminds me of a punk kid in high school who can’t sit in his seat or stop talking, but mysteriously gets really good grades and loves to talk deeply about the intricacies of his favorite comic books. In other words, though his films may be an acquired taste, and don’t bring anything all that profound, they are surprisingly smart and worthy intermittent entertainment – not something you would like to spend time with regularly, but a lot of fun when you do. They represent the cinematic equivalent of the kind of fun partier who actually invests in his friends rather than using them.
*** out of ****
So we both said we enjoyed the film's characters. I felt as though Pegg and Wright did the characters a great service in how they became fuller and richer as time progressed. The writers provide a fast-paced exposition from the protagonist's perspective and then reveal immediately how things had changed, followed by a gradual return to the past dynamics and unveiling of the shared history between them all. However there were a few characters whose development was stopped short. *SPOILER* About halfway through, Oliver (played by Martin Freeman of Bilbo Baggins fame), is replaced with a robot version of himself that was obvious to the audience, and seemed cheap because it was given so little weight.
The protagonist Gary King (Simon Pegg) is, perhaps, the most interesting character of the bunch, as he stands out from the pack as someone who cannot let go of the past. I found this character to be a nice little microcosm of how many people of today’s delayed-adolescence generation are unable to find joy in growing up. Yet, the film also portrayed the other friends, who did move on to grown-up things, as quite stodgy and unhappy as well. I am not sure the film provides a satisfying answer to the questions it poses in relation to all this. What did you think?
That’s an interesting thought – that the film presents both adolescent and adult lifestyles as unsatisfying without showing us what is satisfying. But I’m not really sure that the filmmakers had to show us anything ultimately satisfying – the film would have had to have taken an odd turn for that to work and not feel preachy. The only character who seemed mostly well adjusted was Sam, and we didn’t get to know her quite as well. Speaking of, I liked Sam and Steve quite a bit, even though the romance was cliché. I liked that Wright and Pegg drew comedy by winking at the genre conventionality of this relationship in the end, at least.
|Same old Gary King.|
Two-as-one-rating: *** out of ****