Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A Fantastic Fear of Everything


Simon Pegg stars in this new, qwerky British comedy. Jack (Pegg) is a children’s book author but is bored of writing fables about heart-warming hedgehogs. In order to break free of expectations he writes a book about the history of serial killers and becomes obsessed by murder. Trapped in the world of his new book and paranoid that he is an ancient killer’s next victim, Jack locks himself in his house in fear…a fear that someone is behind every corner, a fear of the constantly ringing phone… a fear of EVERYTHING. But when his agent rings to tell him he must attend a meal with a publisher who is interested in his book, he has only hours to battle for sanity and prepare himself for the now unknown and strange world outside of his apartment. But smartening up for a man he irrationally believes to be the grandson of one of histories most notorious serial killers becomes Jack’s trickiest challenge.

Without his partner-in-comedy Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul) Pegg has no-one to play off but his emotionally damaged, obsessively anxious self. It works. Pegg encapsulates a madman character brilliantly, as the long-haired British actor, in little more than dirty white briefs and a gown, creeps cautiously along his landing, kitchen knife in hand, frantically screaming at every creek and clutter.
The impression of a simple narrative about a man losing his mind to his dark writings, driven largely by a solo-performance, delivered by co-directors Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell in the primary stages of the film is turned on its head in the latter half of the narrative. Amidst Jack’s fear of murder and serial killers is actually a fear of washing machines, rooted in his abandonment by his mother in a laundrette as a young boy. This bizarre phobia distracts from what was a peculiarly amusing and captivating storyline of a man’s psychological suffering and instead turns into a series of events leading to a crime scene which plays out his fear of being savagely killed. But playing on the irony of its-always-who-you-least-expect, his fate is not in the hands of his researched malicious multiple murderers, but of the local community officer. Trapped underground the laundrette with a young woman, Jack suddenly finds his long-lost logic and the comical efforts of his madman character all too quickly parish.

What starts as a promisingly original dark-comedy suffers to a distorted and spiralling narrative which never really pinpoints the tragedy or triumph of Pegg’s character. Although a worthy performance by Pegg in the most part, it is by no means a comedy classic in comparison to his previous works.

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