The World's End ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The Day The Alcoholic Stood Still

Going to sound more negative than positive, which isn’t true because I enjoyed this much more than any Hollywood comedy this year, but lots of questions still aren’t sitting right with me after contemplating. Mainly, I’m feeling a bit tired from the genre-movie-as-metaphor, especially because the strain between the two in World's End is harder to piece together. It’s not a complete separation – Gary is told he is only using his friends as enablers, and then suddenly he no longer needs to rely on his friends to enable him given the new circumstances (finally culminating in an ending in which Gary shortchanges the entire world in order to live in such a circumstance—dark stuff). But why alien-robot-nobots-blanks? I love science fiction parodies as much as the rest of us, but there’s a strange rift between the genre and the character work that never feels fully resolved. I agree with everything others have said about connecting it with your home town feeling Starbucked and not as great as you remember it, but then I wish Wright would lay off some of the more expository mythology stuff, especially once you get to Bill Nighy’s blue light voice at the end, which feels like a completely different movie to me. This is why Shaun for me is the pinnacle – no need to create a zombie mythology, so it’s always character based, while The World’s End sort of loses its place a little more because it does end up becoming such a bigger story.

But no matter – both reveals (the one that opens the film and the one that changes the stakes) both work excellently, and this is an all-around actors MVP: Pegg and Frost playing just enough variations on their usual stuff to create a really unique dynamic, and lovely comic appearances by Marsan, Freeman, Considine, and even Rosmund Pike! (she and Sally Hawkins could do a British version of The Heat). Wright as usual is a great visual stylist;. I got shit for using this word on Twitter, but in a way he’s one of the few comic directors who has a sense of decoupage, in which every joke, even the ones based in dialogue, seem to come out of the visual details of who is in the frame and how Wright edits between them. As much as I enjoy the relaxed style of Apatow gang and he often does find interesting compositions, there’s always something much more pleasurable to me about Wright’s instincts to plan and execute a comedy with wit and intelligence in every frame as much as Hitchcock would.

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