The World’s End – A Review

August 22, 2013 3:56 pm

‘The World’s End’ is the end. It is the last hurrah for comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Both have come from relative obscurity, from making ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’. Now they are putting the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ to bed. And they see off this chapter of their careers with an almighty bang.

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‘The World’s End’ is a cinematic representation of their maturity. On screen they look older, worn ad wiser. Well, Nick Frost’s character does at least. Andy (Nick Frost) is an established Lawyer and along with his childhood friends, he is very successful and a fully responsible adult. His childhood friends are played by an all star cast. Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marson are all each successful in their own right, having come a long way from their childhood lives in rural town Newton Haven. In fact, the film opens with a brief overview of their lives, and just what ‘The World’s End’ is all about. Their youth spent with ‘the King’ Gary King (Simon Pegg) and their attempt at completing the infamous pub crawl which the film is based upon.

It is this pub crawl that King cannot let go of. King, now a hedonistic alcoholic, is desperately trying to cling onto his past. He sports a teenage gothic look with black dyed hair to complete the image. He is the embodiment of hanging onto the past. In a last ditch effort to complete the crawl, he reunites with his reluctant school friends on a trip to Newton Haven, only to find that everything has changed; really changed.the-worlds-end-600-01

Whilst the changes that have taken place are outlandish and surreal, they reflect the attitudes adopted in our midlife crisis about how society has changed. The gastrofication of the local pubs in Newton Haven is one thing, they all look the same. We’ve all seen it; chain pubs popping up on the high street. But that is not all that is the same. As the film sees a secret organisation replacing the town’s residents with replica robots filled with blue liquid. The rest of the gang find out but out of character and narrative necessity, King convinces them to carry on with the pub crawl.

Pegg and Frost are clearly much more evolved as actors than before they started out. This is arguably Pegg’s best performance yet. Underneath his ‘knobheadedness’ is a man who is saddened that his life did not pan out as expected and as a result, prefers to live in the past when he was ‘King’. Frost also plays a more diverse character. Inarguably a more successful character than Pegg’s but just as damaged. Though his deep stemmed resentment of Gary comes from how Gary turned out, and from an incident between the two several years ago; one that left Frost tee-total.

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So whilst they try to stay incognito from the replicas that now run the town, the conflict between Andy and Gary ventures further into the open. Both are grappling to come to terms with their differences and how far their friendship has drifted apart. Their conflict develops and bubbles over as the narrative progresses, eventually reaching boiling point midway through the action packed third act.

The entirety of the script is hilarious as well as clever and witty but with a hefty dose of slapstick to boot. It is safe to say that if both ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ are among your favourite films, then this is one for you. Edgar Wright, Shaun Pegg and Nick Frost take a seemingly mundane area and give it a unique sci-fi, Twilight Zone twist that spews originality and stays true to their predeceasing films. The happenings and capers are never predictable and it is truly refreshing to see something not formulaic. The ending is just like the appearance of the final Cornetto; unexpected. Whilst not to spoil it, it is fair to say that it is not a conventional happy ending. It is quite bleak but the overriding feeling as the credits role is that both Frost and Pegg have moved on since their formative years, both on screen, and off.

 

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