Monday, 10 December 2012

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, dir/wr. Lorene Scafaria, st. Steve Carell, Keira Knightley

Armageddon is, on reflection, a perfect tonal match for Steve Carell's perpetually hangdog face, a face that coveys such abject resignation, it's a wonder you don't glass yourself in the neck at the futility of it all the moment he appears onscreen. End Of Days films are nothing new, and you'd be forgiven if you thought you were being sold SAFFTEOTW on the promise of it being a bit funnier as the trailers suggested. However, the film kicks off with alarmingly ordinary depictions of extraordinary reactions to the news that the end is nigh; Carell plays Dodge Peterson (great name for a character unable to escape the predicament of a seventy-mile-wide asteroid) whose wife has literally just run out on him. His friends host a party and casually and jovially take heroin and encourage their children to chug martinis; at his dull insurer's job, a body crashes onto the bonnet of his car as he pulls up in his parking space; his boss stoically offers up a redundant position of CEO as his staff sniff and weep around him; after attempting an overdose, Dodge wakes up in the park with a dog tied to his ankle accompanied by a note that reads "I'm Sorry". You can guess what he names it. SAFFTEOTW is full of these little details, and even when necessity dictates that the rather predictable plot must move the story forward, it's still a pleasure to see the intricacies remain in sharp focus. There's great use of some rather obvious musical choices too, and although I suspect you're meant to believe Dodge and Penny's (Knightley) relationship is the stuff of hitherto undiscovered fairytale romance, I still bought it as a depiction of two people desperate not to be alone as the lights go out. It doesn't quite know what kind of a film it wants to be, but it undoubtedly makes an impact.