Friday, June 29, 2012

Seeking a Friend For the End of the World Review

Hello, Internet (pretend I said that all depressed-like).  I am more than willing to give any movie a chance and Seeking a Friend For the End of the World (Seeking) was no exception.  I saw the trailer and more or less knew what I was getting into - a dramedy.  What I got was a whole 'lot of drama and not much comedy.  Not enough comedy to pull me from the immediate depression I found myself in from the first scene.

The premise is quite simple and an interesting set-up in which to stage a drama - an asteroid 60 miles wide will impact the Earth in just three weeks, wiping out all life whatsoever.  It is within this doomsday premise that we meet our main character, Dodge (the always-lovable Steve Carell), who upon hearing the apocalyptic news, watches his wife run away into the night.  This is the first of many examples of how people and society deals with the impending destruction of the human race (and was probably my favorite aspect of the film).  Dodge eventually finds himself with the pseudo-hippy Penny (Keira Knightley) and the pair set out on a road trip to find loved ones before the apocalypse.

I'll just come right out and say that Seeking is not an enjoyable film to watch.  It is not fun.  It is sad.  And it made me sad.  Very sad.  The premise is interesting enough but I suppose that I was expecting just a bit more comedy mixed in with the drama.  That said, there were a few parts of Seeking that I did enjoy.  Carell and Knightley are simply fantastic as the two leads; their journey from complete strangers to friends to lovers felt natural and was quite compelling.  I was brought to tears at least once because of this pair's chemistry and their believable performances.

As previously mentioned, I quite enjoyed the different reactions of pockets of society to the impending apocalypse.  Reactions ranged from rioting to the continuance of day-to-day activities (police officers still pulling people over for speeding).  One of my favorite sequences of the film involved a stop at a Friendly's-style restaurant that ended in a drug-induced orgy; definitely a more relaxed way to deal with death than rioting.  A beat that I found rather interesting revolved around contract killers; some people wished to end their lives before the asteroid impact.  Rather than commit suicide, which is considered a sin, individuals can hire someone to end their life for them.  In one particular instance the character in question (a relatively cool cameo) wanted to die not knowing when, where, or how.  In complete contrast to the drug orgy is a pilgrimage of sorts; our leads almost literally run into a convoy of immigrants on their way to the be baptized.  None of this is spoken outright; we get to see Dodge and Penny enjoying some of their last hours on the beach with happy people just living.  It was quite moving and very impactful.

Obviously there were moments that I enjoyed quite a bit in Seeking, but the overall tone of the film is quite depressing; yes, our leads are trying to find loved ones before the apocalypse, and there are funny and poignant moments to be had within that premise, but I couldn't help leaving the theater utterly saddened..  Seeking a Friend For the End of the World is a very good film, but its just not fun to watch or really all that enjoyable.  Watch at your own risk!

Seeking is an utterly depressing dramedy about the end of the world...without much by way of comedy.

The Bearded Bullet.

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