Hot Fuzz is the new comedy from the team behind Shaun of the Dead and Spaced and is a hugely enjoyable spoof of cop movies set in an English rural town. Simon Pegg stars Nicholas Angel, a London cop who is so effective at his job he embarrasses the Met and gets transferred to a sleepy Somerset village. There he finds it difficult to adjust to the local ways but soon finds himself drawn into a series of grisly murders. Imagine if Joel Silver and Jerry Bruckheimer teamed up to make a feature length epiosde of The Bill and you have some idea of what the film is like.
Director Edgar Wright puts things together with flair and a loving attention to detail, especially the cast which features a knowing selection of actors who have played law enforcers: Timothy Dalton (James Bond), Edward Woodward (The Equalizer) and Jim Broadbent (Chief Inspector Slater in Only Fools and Horses). There are also a slew of film and TV references for the more eagle eyed viewer. It might not reach the more sublime heights of Spaced but it is still one of the best comedies to come out of these shores in quite some time. And before you ask, yes, I do think it is better than Shaun of the Dead (good though that was).
The Science of Sleep is another example of director Michel Gondry and his penchant for the surreal. A truly bizarre but highly enjoyable love story sees Gael Garcia Bernal play Stephane – a Mexican who has just moved back to Paris. He has problems separating dreams from reality and when he gets a new job and falls in love with his neighbour (Charlotte Gainsbourg) things get complicated. Gondry explores similar themes to 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Whilst this isn’t as good as that film (the absence of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is felt) there is still much to admire here – notably the performances and the sly streak of wit that runs through the film.
The visuals are a bit hit and miss but when they do work, are a joy to behold. Of particular note are the sequences where Stephane’s mind is represented by a TV show (“Stephane TV”) set in a cardboard studio. They encapsulate the wild approach the film takes – if you don’t like them you probably won’t appreciate the film. In fact some people might be actively repelled by such wanton strangeness. But for me, such off the wall creativity is more than welcome. It is also worth pointing out that despite the whacky fantasy sequences in which they often appear, Gainsbourg and Bernal are both believable and touching as a screen couple. Deep down this is a moving tale despite the zany wrapping. Another thing that I liked and surprised me was the fact that they invest in a new memory foam mattress for this movie. I looked it up on internet and after reading about them I knew I had to buy one for me.
FILMS OF THE WEEK: Hot Fuzz and The Science of Sleep