Seeking a friend for the End of the World (2012)
Steve Carell : Dodge
Keira Knightley : Penny
Rose Byrne : Dana
Aasif Mandvi : Mr Chetty
“Put on some Radiohead… I want to do heroin to Radiohead.”
The first 30 minutes I had to persevere and restrain myself not to hit the off-button. Everything indicated that it would be a romantic comedy, where the comic part felt pretty fake. I really can’t remember me smiling in that first half hour. Maybe when Dodge’s wife runs of because of his irritating dry remark about missing a turn after the news was announced that within a few days the earth would be as flat as a fig and those walking on it too of course. Afterwards I realized it was indeed funny. That woman suddenly decided it was better to spend her last days doing some calisthenics with her (I suppose) lover, then being accompanied by that dry, neurotic and unpleasant dullard.
But then it turned into a more subtle whole, with deeper meanings, symbolism and questions about life. The humor got more refined. Many chuckle moments for me, when dry yet thoughtful humor creeps into such a melodramatic story. For instance the part where Dodge tells Penny about his wife and Olivia, ending with the quote “The rest is almost history” …. The word “almost” made me laugh again . And there are more things like that in this movie. Eventually I was empathizing (Geezz, didn’t think I would ever do that … with a movie), and I truly enjoyed this satirical depressing story. The trucker who’s shot down by a “hitman”, the dog that was tied to Dodge when he lost consciousness after an overdose of cough syrup in the park, Penny’s friend in his titanium bunker, the sheriff who’s uncompromising until the end and takes them into custody, the cleaning-lady who thinks she’s fired. And then it gets mawkish and you see those two people growing to eachother and fall in love … duh. I would do that too in those last days if I was alone. Secretly I was hoping in the end that it all would be a mistake and that the comet would miss earth at the last minute. But it ends in a flash … And then I thought, “Damn, what a wonderful movie”
The only negative thing I could come up with was the over-expressive facial expressions of Keira Knightley at times. Sometimes it seemed as if she laughed, cried and smelled a rancid omelet made of rotten eggs, simultaneously in one expression. Awful to see and annoying. I can’t remember her using those expressions in “Pirates of the Caribbean“. Obviously she had to use it in “A dangerous method“, but that came with the character she played and it suited well in that movie. Probably she was enrolled because of that.
Conclusion: I highly recommend this movie if you’re in a sentimental and serious mood. Are you in a dip, then avoid this like the plague because it doesn’t really make you happy again.