And some movies cut so damn close you almost want to recuse yourself from talking about them. And though they never made me uncomfortable, the similarities between me and Gary King, Simon Pegg's strung-out, hard-partying protagonist, made themselves keenly known: an occasionally overwhelming sense of nostalgia; the all-black uniform of your youth, slightly (but only slightly) modified here in our mid-40s; and a curiously abiding, nay unshakeable faith in the Sisters of Mercy's FLOODLAND. And though I'm more aware than Gary that "This Corrosion" is only half-serious (director Edgar Wright is definitely in on the joke), I suspect we both grow silent during "Driven Like The Snow."
Gary's so at odds with the modern world that he gets the lads back together to recreate an epic but incomplete pub crawl that, in retrospect, was their last real night of freedom. And though none of the lads (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan in uniformly well-observed turns) can seem to communicate to Gary that he's living too too much in the past, soon even Gary realizes that all is not right in Newton Haven.
It's a grand and funny conclusion to Pegg & Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy; the comedy lands and the fight scenes (built around the notion that our heroes become better fighters the drunker they get) match those of any purer action movie. Its portrait of a small town beset by unseen and sinister forces is social genre fiction in line with Wyndham. But more than any of its substantial gifts, I'm savoring its bittersweet taste of melancholy. Wright has commented that even when things are good one is always drawn home, driven by a strange need to go back. And as specifically as my life resonates with Gary's (though I like to think I'm not quite so addled, or pained), I suspect this aspect of the movie will resonate with many. It's a clever and thrilling movie, to be sure, but one with much to say about our world and those who live discontentedly within it, whether they acknowledge this discontent or not.
FLOODLAND begins righteously with meticulously produced Eldritch/Steinman epics, and ends in Never Land (fragments); epic but incomplete. THE WORLD'S END also ends in a kind of Never Land (fragments). Like FLOODLAND, it bestows a certain energy, a righteous rock & roll thrill. You leave it with a new perspective on the world, and its goofily apocalyptic pop playing in your head. Like FLOODLAND, I can't wait to see it again.