Lincoln’s Movie Night: The World’s End

The World's EndThe World’s End

Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan

Well it was a day we all knew was coming. Our final bite of Cornetto. But, as the blood and ice cream is cleaned up, we can at least reflect on a brilliant last blast.

The World’s End is another wild, genre comedy, with Simon Pegg starring as Gary King, a man trapped in his past. At a meeting for addicts, he recounts the story of a failed, youthful pub crawl and conceives the notion that he and his friends need to attempt it again. These friends include Pegg and director Edgar Wright’s regular collaborator Nick Frost, along with Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Martin Freeman. Add in Rosamund Pike as Sam, the sister of Martin Freeman’s Oliver and the crush of Considine’s Steven, who once slept with Gary many years ago. Each of these people now has a life, a steady job, and isn’t particularly fond of Gary, but he somehow convinces them to return to their hometown of Newton Haven together. Which is when things get weird.

The trailers have made it no spoiler to say that the town has been taken over by Invasion of the Body Snatchers-esque duplicates, but initially, Newton Haven seems benign, if banal. Pretty people. Pretty square. Boring, cookie-cutter pubs. However, a couple of pints in (or waters, in the case of Frost’s angry teetotaler Andy), Gary runs into a teenager in the bathroom who is less than impressed with the local legend’s return. A fistfight leads to a moment recognized by anyone who played rough with their action figures as a kid, and the group realizes that something very strange is going on.

This film makes it obvious that Edgar Wright is becoming one of the best young directors working. End is arguably the best of the trilogy, alternating spit-take humor with more nuanced, bittersweet moments. The script from Wright and Pegg is a masterpiece, a mature piece of writing that wraps a difficult story about wasted youth and potential in the trappings of science fiction.

But it doesn’t matter how good your script is if you don’t have the actors to back it up. Fortunately, the cast of The World’s End are all game, with Frost particularly enjoyable. He plays against type: angry, tough, and surprisingly handy in a fight. Pegg’s Gary is a total asshole, the kind of conniving grifter that everyone knows, but who somehow manages to walk away unscathed from each of his schemes. The entire cast shines, clearly enjoying the freedom that acting drunk gives.

The film does suffer from what some might see as bad timing. While planned for years, it had the misfortune to be released during the same summer as several other end-of-the-world style blockbusters, most significantly the similarly titled This is the End. Don’t let this stop you. The World’s End is both new and familiar, that perfect blend of debauched craziness and bittersweet recollection you’d hope for out of a bar crawl with old friends. It’s the reunion we all needed.

The World’s End is rated R for language. And blood, I guess. I mean, it’s mostly blue. Are you offended by blue blood? I’m not. Okay, it’s rated R for language.