Synopsis: Five childhood friends reunite in their prime to take on a challenge that bested them once before – The Golden Mile. Returning to Newton Haven, they soon discover that something strange is afoot, leading them to question their choices, their lives and their friendships.
The third and final installment of the long awaited Cornetto trilogy is arguably the best of the three. The mint-flavoured film sees protagonist Gary King (Simon Pegg) seek out his age-old drinking buddies – Andrew (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Peter (Eddie Marsan) – to reinact a fateful night from their past; tackling The Golden Mile, a pub crawl of otherworldly proportions.
Fans of Wright’s ice-cream predecessors may find some familiarity in THE WORLD’S END, which has matured in both style and personality and lets Wright dare to do with this film what he did not with its forerunners. It is primarily darker, more complex and arguably intended for more adult audiences, with the opening artfully stylised and considerably well-suited in unison with its unscored track listing (from ’87-’92), hand-picked from Pegg and Wright’s personal collection.
When we consider its genre, Wright is more daring to say the least, extending your typical comedy into a film with a chewy, comedic centre and a hard sci-fi/action sugar-shell, contributing to a genre mishmash that most certainly pleases. There are plenty of surprises in store for fans of the trilogy and Wright himself, with familiar faces making an appearance and the occasional Easter egg for comic-book enthusiasts and film aficionados.
Pegg provides a pivotal performance as a grown-man with a youthful spirit, and his personal conflicts never dilute proceedings as he churns out line after line of unrelenting hilarity. Frost follows suit as the backbone of the film, equally as witty and providing a spectacularly serious undertone to an otherwise straight-up comedic classic. Additional cast members Freeman, Considine and Marsan do a fantastic job of complimenting each other (as well as Pegg and Frost), adding definition and anchoring the group dynamic. However, THE WORLD’S END’s numerous tone shifts effectively leave us unsure whether to laugh or cry, and whilst Rosamund Pike delivers a wonderfully acted performance as Sam, it feels unnecessary and perhaps only included to account for a female character that isn’t as obviously sexualised as others.
Ultimately, Pegg, Frost and Freeman provide solid, fantastic performances and are feasibly the most noteworthy. In combination with the excellent script, soundtrack and the tendency to consistently and exponentially one-up itself across the film, it culminates in what might arguably be one of the best comedies of the year. Four stars.
This review was originally posted over at The Hollywood News.