The World’s End (MA 15+)
SIMON Pegg and Edgar Wright rarely have a problem with letting go of the past. Their previous collaborations involve the struggles of renting, zombies and disgruntled police officers – stories in essence about where their life is headed, or what could be better.
The last film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) isn’t without those themes, but they play second fiddle to a central character that can’t move on from his younger days. They present a man who’s struggled to find his place in life because he felt he could never better his teenage self.
Gary King (Pegg) believed he was a ruler of Newton Haven during his school days. He loved his best friend Andy (Nick Frost), and other mates Peter (Eddie Marsan), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Oliver (Martin Freeman) and thought they were invincible.
An epic pub crawl along their town’s Golden Mile still plays on Gary’s mind 20 years on as he rues the fact he never reached pub number 12, The World’s End. With the boys back on board, his need for closure comes as they return to their hometown for one night of carnage.
The reunion is anything but rosy. Oliver, Peter, Steven and Andy are well-to-do adults with families and stable jobs, and don’t sit well with Gary’s carefree and selfish way of life. Andy hasn’t forgiven Gary for his involvement in a car accident, and refuses to take part in the way originally intended.
Let’s not forget the girl. There’s always one, and here it’s Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike). An object of affection brings more mud to the surface as the pub crawl struggles to find its feet.
As fans of the trilogy’s previous films are aware though, there’s always something more sinister at play. Their home is not what it seems, and on learning an alien invasion is at hand, the group are torn on the decision on whether to continue their quest or retreat back to London.
Pegg and Frost never go without a fight, and the third time really is a charm. The tables turn for this final episode as Frost shows his serious side alongside Pegg’s… loser. Gary, as likeable as he is, really does show that being stuck in 1990 for 20 years doesn’t do well for one’s appearance.
It’s sad for anyone to see someone realise their life hasn’t worked out anything like what they wanted. A feeling of hopelessness exists between Gary’s brash attitude, as the story reveals finishing the Golden Mile is the only thing he believes he can accomplish.
The collaboration between co-writer Pegg and co-writer/director Wright works effortlessly well once again, the script frequently crossing the line into ridiculousness but maintaining a great mix of comedy and characters in a story about the end of the world as they know it.
Their tales of camaraderie among impossible situations is something to be admired, Pegg and Frost a perfectly average pair doing their best to get along with life and its dramas. Alcohol may not solve the problems of the world, but for these guys it’ll do nicely.
Now screening at Reading Cinemas