Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-fi
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike
Given that both of Edgar Wright’s previous collaborations with Simon Pegg & Nick Frost – the equally superb Shaun of the Dead & Hot Fuzz – focused strongly on Britain’s pub culture, it should be no surprise that Britain’s watering holes form the beating heart of the trio’s final film in their Blood & Ice Cream trilogy. As we all hoped, The World’s End is a comedic delight that celebrates blood, Britishness and Cornetto.
Pegg plays Gary King, a 40-year-old drowning in a world of drink, smokes and Goth fashion. 20 year after failing to complete an epic pub-crawl, Gary convinces his best childhood friends to reunite in their hometown of Newton Haven to try and complete the pub-crawl they started 20 years ago, from ‘The First Post’ to ‘The World’s End’. However, it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems in Newton Haven.
It’s the second film, after This Is The End, to riff on the end of the world story in as many months. But, while the Seth Rogen starring self-parody was both languorous and disappointing, The World’s End is a joy from start to finish. Wright & Pegg’s script moves at pace, from the flashback opening that sets the story & introduces the characters to the effects-laden finale, the film fizzes with both visual and vocal comedy. The characters are expertly drawn, the relationships between them (mostly) broken by time but still held by the bonds forged in youth.
Frost and Pegg have never been better and the film benefits from giving a new twist to their central friendship. Instead of the bromance that was sustained in Shaun and formed in Fuzz, Gary’s friendship with Frost’s Andrew has been wrecked by an incident in the duo’s past; giving a surprising poignancy to their pivotal moment of intimacy, which takes place in the film’s titular location.
Next to the leads the supporting cast give memorable performances, Wright & Pegg’s script allowing for each character to have their own shining moment. Particularly note-worthy are Paddy Considine & Rosamund Pike, both capturing the awkwardness & trepidation that comes with the situations their characters find themselves in, while also delivering endlessly quotable lines; Considine’s references to the “Starbucking” of society being a personal highlight.
With 12 pubs to get through, Wright rarely lets the pace dwindle, with bar-room brawls aplenty; the standout scene being a frantic fight between an endless succession of robots and our heroes fighting for their lives, while Gary fights to save his drink. As with a real pub-crawl, the pace is frantic as the end draws closer; Wright & Pegg using the first pubs to develop their characters and unleash the zingers, while the last ones build the tension to the film’s brave dénouement.
Wright, Pegg and Frost have completed their trilogy of genre-busting comedies on an all-time high. At times exciting, at others moving and always able to keep the laughs coming, The World’s End is everything you could have hoped for. Moreover, it brings to an end a trilogy that proved UK cinema could be both fresh & funny, while remaining uniquely British. Cheers.