Saturday, April 20, 2013

Movie Review - Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

 This movie manages to show you both the worst and the best of humanity all at once.  The film is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

This is another one of those awkward films that I love so much.  The end of the world is not a popular subject with most people, however this film does an amazing job of portraying it with grace and dignity.  The acting is simply amazing, and really is the highlight of the film.  While there are explosions, and action, this film is truly a story about the human experience.

We start the film in a car parked on the side of the road.  Dodge () and his wife Linda () are listening to the radio they are absolutely quiet and still.  There is an announcer stating that our last chance to divert the giant asteroid headed for earth has failed.  In the next moment Dodge looks over to his wife and says "honey I think we missed our exit", she gets out of the car and runs away as fast as a woman in heels can run.  This event sets Dodge on his course for the rest of the film as he tries to find what is important in life, so he can hang onto in in his final moments.

Steve Carell is terrific as Dodge the character of Dodge is very beaten down by life.  He is so stuck in his daily routine that you wonder if he even knows the end of the world is upon him.   Steve brings such a quiet intensity to this role.  Sometimes you can really see the gears turning in his head and other times he is a veil of ambiguity.

Along his journey Dodge meets Penny ().  Penny is very vibrant and full of emotion, the polar opposite of Dodge in every way.  Where he is clean and organized, she is dirty and chaotic.  Keira Knightley is an amazing actress and she really brings a much needed vibrant energy to the role or Penny. 

As I mentioned, this film sheds light on both the best and the worst of humanity.  We see looters, rioters, sleazy guys who are taking full advantage of the end of the world.  Yet in the midst of all this negativity we find love, kindness, and compassion for fellow human beings.  This is the first film I have watched, in quite some time, to truly make me feel something.  Happiness, sadness, remorse, longing, and heartache, all in the span of 101 minutes.

I will admit that because Steve Carell does such an amazing job playing an unfeeling character it does take a little while to really care about his character.  I thought a few times, why do I care about Dodge, he is a human twig, devoid of all emotion.  Having said that, this film is also a great study of the human condition.  It seems like the writers spent some time researching what makes us all tick when writing this film.  There is never a moment where the dialog felt forced or unnatural.  All of the characters in the film are very believable, I could imagine myself in their position very easily acting the same way.

I would highly recommend this film if you like movies that dig deeper into who we are as a species.  Heck, even if you like to people watch you might enjoy this film.  Watching people deal with the biggest dilemma in the history of humankind is pretty interesting to watch.

Because of the amazing way the film portrayed humanity's final moments and still managed to end the film on an up note, I rate this film five smiley Mike heads.

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