Fearful Symmetry

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Hot Fuzz

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Call the cops

Call the cops

I remember when Spaced came out. Channel Four gave it a really bad promotion – not even hinting at all the science-fictional references in it – so I just expected some rubbish, twenty-something flat-sharing sitcom. So, after promoting from friends, I only finally caught up with it on DVD. And I ended up loving it of course, though it does vary a bit during the run. Then more recently Shaun Of The Dead came along. Whilst for the most part it worked, I had issues were the comedy and the horror (in particular the tragic stuff) did not really work together and it kind of unravels in the final minutes.

Now Hot Fuzz has arrived and it’s sort of perfect. It celebrates the essential naffness of the British policeman, at least cinematically. Something to do with the uniform and lack of guns, but the only UK cop films that have succeeded (and there’s very few of them full stop) are plain clothes efforts like The Sweeney. This time the plot works with comedy and the integration of the ‘US Cop Buddy Movie’ genre into a West Country small town is excellent. This is helped by the film-makers not being shy to include elements of other genres like Hammer horror and television crime dramas like Midsomer Murders. It also helps that they have managed to secure an utterly unprecedented number of quality actors for every single role, no mater how small. In Midsomer you know the most famous guest actor is the murderer, in Hot Fuzz everyone is famous.

Whilst Frost essentially plays the same bubbling oaf that he always does, Pegg stretches himself actor-wise by portraying a buttoned-down hard nut instead of his usual slacker. As for the others, Dalton’s performance alone is a work of genius and Paddy Constantine, who I had sort of pigeon-holed as just a brilliant dramatic actor, is unrecognisable in his role and his comedy timing steals every scene he is in.

The director Edgar Wright again shows his mastery of his craft, not just imitating, but showing his own chops and invention. I really hope he doesn’t get lured into Hollywood too quickly.

There’s been complaints that it’s too long, but that’s just rubbish. I love the fact it parodies those films that never seem to want to finish with false ending after false ending. At one point I was literary crying with laughter – something I can’t remember doing in front of a film for a long long time – and I really don’t think I can give it more praise than that.

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Written by Fearful Symmetry

July 26, 2009 at 11:02 am

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