Seeking A Friend for the End of the World 7 DI
2012 Running time: 101 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4
KA Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Synopsis

In this apocalyptic rom-com, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley play neighbours whose relationships explode just weeks before an asteroid is due to obliterate the earth. Setting off on a road tip to pay a last visit to their loved ones, they find that they have more in common than they realise. Debut writer-director Lorene Scafaria has crafted a compelling story that seamlessly switches from sharp-eyed satire to an unbearably poignant climax.

Director

  • Lorene Scafaria

Cast

  • Keira Knightley

  • Steve Carell

  • Adam Brody

  • Melanie Lynskey

  • Derek Luke

  • Martin Sheen

Review

Just as the world is due to end in an asteroid-obliterated inferno, the relationships of neighbours Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley) implode with a whimper rather than a bang.

His wife silently walks out of their passionless marriage as they sit in the car listening to a DJ announce that his radio station will "be bringing you the countdown to the end of days along with all you classic rock favourites."

She's just kicked her feckless slacker of a boyfriend out after one too many let-downs and Dodge invites her into his apartment after he finds her weeping on the fire escape.

Together they hit on a companionable plan to fills the days until Armageddon - they'll head off on a road trip where he will pay a visit to his childhood sweetheart and she will hitch a lift aboard a plane to see her parents for one last time.

Writer-director Lorena Scafaria, who penned the amiable rom-com Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, repeats the gently witty tone but here marries it to something infinitely bleaker.

In fact, the first part plays out as a pitch black comedy with a suicidal Dodge still turning up for work at an insurance firm where a near hysterical boss points out job vacancies. Later, he reluctantly attends a party to distract thoughts from the end of the world where a group of 40-somethings mainline heroin and swap partners.

He glumly views the bizarre turn of pre-apocalyptic events with a resigned, quizzical melancholy but once on the road with Penny - avoiding the riots back in LA - he begins to emerge from his shell, attracted by her youthful kooky charm.

After a surreal visit to a diner called Friendsy's where everything appears to be on the menu - including the sexually-obliging staff - Dodge and Penny look to each other for emotional nourishment and the courage to face down the coming apocalypse.

The mash-up of skewed love and black humour shouldn't work...but it does thanks to the off-kilter chemistry between Carell and Knightley and a narrative that touchingly propels their burgeoning romance to the bitter end.

Tim Evans

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