Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz; comedy, UK, 2007; D: Edgar Wright, S: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Rafe Spall, Olivia Colman, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, Paul Freeman, Martin Freeman

Police Constable Nicholas Angel is one of the most successful and award-winning people in the history of police in London. A little bit too successful, in fact, since he makes the London police "look bad" in comparison and thus his office decides to transport him to a small provincial town of Sandford. Nicholas is annoyed by the lazy police without any effort, especially by his new partner Danny. However, when several people start dying in mysterious circumstances, he suspects there is a mass killer on the run. He uncovers a conspiracy: the village officials - Skinner, manager of a supermarket; Frank, the police Inspector, and others - who kill people who are "disrupting" the perfect reputation of the village. In a grand shootout, Nicholas and Danny manage to arrest the bad guys.

Director Edgar Wright picked another right thing when he decided to make a comic 'buddy cop film', something which is rarely produced in British cinema, and thus delivered a refreshing flick. Basically following the same formula of a conspiracy in a small town which would be used in his other Simon Pegg collaboration, "The World's End", "Hot Fuzz" is a peculiar and daft film which cannot quite get pinned down, yet it is a fun comedy that is simple and accessible. Some heavy handed moments contaminate the innocent tone of the storyline, mostly revolving around sometimes unnecessary crude or gory blood scenes of murder, whereas not every joke works, yet those that do ignite with delight (one irresistible joke, for instance, has Angel answering a phone call at the police station: a man, in all seriousness, called the police because a "swan escaped from the castle", but the protagonist has to oblige and try to catch the bird, even though he thinks this is clearly beneath his honor), whereas Wright gives the 'Mary Sue' protagonist cop Nicholas Angel a neat story arc in which he manages to both change (by accepting to 'lighten up' and stop being so aggressively perfect all of the time) and stay the same (his work ethic and integrity manage to crack the criminal conspiracy, after all) at the same time. A light fun. At least one sequence is howlingly hilarious, though, and demonstrates Wright's delight on comic territory which reaches cosmic heights, easily forming a highlight of the entire film: it is the insane finale in which Angel returns to the village, only to get attacked by retired locals who are aged 65+. One grandmother even calls him a "fascist" and then starts shooting  at him with a machine gun. And just when you think this cannot be topped, it gets topped - when a priest implores Angel to stop, appealing to the church - only to draw two guns and start shooting himself! If anything, this sequence is a small comic gem.


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