I love apocalypse fiction in all its forms, so going into those I was hoping for it to be some sort of satire on the genre given that it was advertised as a comedy and featured Steve Carrell. What I didn’t expect was it to be a genuinely moving piece, nor did I think I would be naming it as one of the best End Of The World films I’ve seen.
The first thing to say about the movie is that Steve Carrell has dialed down his humour and performance, instead crafting something more subtle and poignant as the ironically named ‘Dodge’. The second thing is that this has all the hallmarks of a movie which will gain a cult following over the years due to a number of sweet moments which never resort to quirky humour or overt sentimentality. With a great cast, good performances, and a solid idea which plays out at its own inevitable pace, I’m saddened this didn’t make a dent at the box office but hopeful that many will experience it in the future.
Dodge is a quiet married man drifting through life in an unimportant job and an apparently loveless marriage. A news report early in the movie tells us that a final attempt to save the world from a catastrophic event has failed, and that in three weeks time all life on Earth will end. With only days left to live, we see snippets of how humanity reacts – with wanton sex, rioting, crime, suicide all seen as valid decisions. Dodge however, in true existential form, simply continues his life as if nothing has happened – returning to his job when everyone else has gone. As the days pass he thinks increasingly about his childhood love and decides he wants to go on a road-trip to find her and confess his feelings. Tagging along is the younger Penny, played by Keira Knightly, a woman who wants to get home to England to spend her final moments with her family. The two form an unlikely friendship as they travel across America witnessing and experiencing all manner of human behavior. All the while, the clock is ticking down to oblivion.
Aside from possibly being a little too slow in places and from maybe being advertised as another hilarious Carrell venture, I don’t have anything negative to say about the movie. It charms, it will make you question what your final moments and decisions may be under the same circumstances, and while you may not re-evaluate your priorities after watching it certainly nudges you in that direction without ever being preachy. Everything is delivered in a matter-of-fact way, with only hints of the surreal, and when taken in context nothing which happens during the story seems unreasonable. Knightly and Carrell are as good as they have ever been, ably backed by Martin Sheen, Adam Brody and other in smaller roles. Steady direction, a good soundtrack, and a decent script all wrap together to complete this little gift which, as I mentioned already, deserves to be seen repeatedly by a much wider audience than it has so far reached.
Have you seen Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World? How does it fare alongside other apocalyptic movies? Let us know in the comments!