Growing up in a town on the outskirts of a major city, sometimes one could start to feel restless and morose. “Nothing ever happens in this town,” was a typical thought that ran through my head living in a town on the north western outskirts of Bristol. A part of me yearned for an escape to somewhere more exciting than a town with a declining aerospace industry and a large office complex for the Ministry of Defence. I started to feel slightly differently after encountering the second installment of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy Hot Fuzz featuring the ever brilliant duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Pegg’s character Nicholas Angel is transferred from the London Met to a police force in sleepy Sandford, a crime-free idyllic town in Gloucestershire. His struggle to deal with a lazy Police force and innocently docile locals is particularly entertaining. Pegg and Wright have brilliantly captured the kind of people one may encounter in a small town in a very tongue in cheek manner without being outright offensive. The characters are all somewhat relatable and despite their quirks, the audience can’t help but root for them and feel awful when any of them were axed off in the shady murder spree. The great writing is aided by a great all-star cast ranging from Olivia Colman, Bill Bailey and Anne Reid to David Bradley, Bill Nighy and Timothy Dalton. They all manage to capture the interest of the audience without completely chewing the scenery at the expense of their co-stars which is more than can be said about the doomed drama group’s production of Romeo and Juliet within the film.
Wright’s direction and writing in Hot Fuzz is meticulous yet somewhat fantastical. His style shines in this homage to buddy cop films. His use of subversion, exploration of genre, use of dramatic camera angles and tightly choreographed action sequences is executed to great comedic effect whilst still creating a suspenseful crime and action film. This is a style not out of place in Hollywood studio block busters yet fits beautifully in the British setting. Previous to Hot Fuzz there hadn’t been much of a tradition for British ‘cop buddy’ films. The genre still hasn’t had the rise that one may imagine Hot Fuzz would give but perhaps the success of Hot Fuzz isn’t merely limited to genre. Wright shows that one doesn’t require a big city in the United States to make a brilliant cop film but does require writing talent, tight direction and intelligence.
Brilliantly written with tight direction, great acting and overall sublime film-making, Hot Fuzz is a film that you can’t afford to miss and will make scream for more. An entertaining send up to the West Country by two of its natives and greatly appreciated by this West Country writer.
Happy Edgar Wright Day
Baby Driver is out now!