Seeking a Friend for the End of the World [Blu-Ray] Lorene Scafaria

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World [Blu-Ray] Lorene Scafaria
7
Traditionally, American movies about the end of the world work as allegories about hope and survival, featuring sweaty alpha-males flying out into space to blow up asteroids while everyone else, presumably, sits at home waiting passively for salvation. It's an amusingly affirming, solipsistic and emotionally vacant approach to the subject of mortality, implying that our sheer importance and boundless ego will make us Highlanders, or something. Lorene Scafaria's take on the subject has more of a Canadian or European slant, acknowledging that lack of consequence would inspire anarchic sensibilities and inevitable destruction in certain locales amidst specified subsections of society, but not doting on animal urges as an antagonizing force. Instead, she takes an introspective look at annihilation anxiety, pointing out, quite astutely, that the arbitrary and rigid nature of our existing social construct would become little more than a cosmic joke as we escaped from our collective cages without fear of consequence or external judgement and ridicule. In getting here, she follows the defeatist Dodge (Steve Carell), who holds on to order and expectation after his wife uses the end of the world as an excuse to flee their empty marriage. While everyone around him waxes Bacchanalian, indulging in liquor, drugs and sexual freedom, Dodge goes to work and sells insurance, certain that wasting his time getting to know someone in the face of impending doom is pointless and irrelevant. In short, he's perfectly at ease with dying alone, albeit despondent that his entire life was wasted on the lie of social performance. Enter pot-smoking, free-spirited neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) and his guiding ideology is challenged as they go on a road trip across the country to find his old flame and a plane for her to use to get home to England, where her family lives. How it all unfolds isn't necessarily much of a surprise, but the consistently bizarre, yet logical behaviour of those they encounter on the way keeps this affirmation of human connection energized and amusing. What really makes Seeking a Friend for the End of the World something memorable, despite its occasionally uneven tone and clumsy composition, is the plausible, insecure but sincere way that Dodge and Penny reluctantly learn to care for, and open up to, each other. It's just unfortunate that Scafaria's very accurate assertion that in order for us to let our guard down and open up to each other we have to confront mortality head on is something that we can only appreciate in theory rather than practical execution. Included with the Blu-Ray are brief supplements on the making of the film and the songs people would listen to at the very end. They're standard fluff. (eOne)