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Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Shaun of the Dead


****

Life is going nowhere for Shaun (Simon Pegg). He spends his life down local pub 'The Winchester' with best mate Ed (Nick Frost), barely sees his mum (Penelope Wilton) and neglects girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). After Liz dumps him Shaun decides it's time to get his life back on track by accepting the responsibilities of adulthood, patching up the shaky relationship with his mum, and win Liz back. Unfortunately on the same day the recently deceased are returning to life and eating the living. Determined not to be stopped Shaun and Ed grab a cricket bat and spade and fight their way through the hungry zombies to get to Shaun's mum and step-dad (Bill Nighy), Liz, and Liz's flatmates Dianne (Lucy Davis) and David (Dylan Moran), and take them to 'The Winchester', where Shaun plans to hold up till it's all over.

Director Edgar Wright wrote this film as a comic spoof of zombie films such as George A. Romero's Living Dead Saga and once again works with his two of the leading actors from his acclaimed comedy series Spaced with excellent results. Shaun of the Dead is comic gold, with hilarious references to how restricting British life is in the first part, as everyone (especially the background characters/extras) are so stuck in their daily routine that they are virtually zombies already. Shaun and Ed's valiant attempts to fight off every zombie before them is equally funny as they listen to the news by "destroying the head or removing the brain", thanks to the sheer energy they put into their efforts, which is a complete contrast to the lazy slobs seen in the first twenty minutes or so, as well as the comic irony that something so threatening and intimidating can be killed permanently so easily.

Arguably the most memorable scene is when Shaun and Ed encouter their first two zombies (Mark Donovan and Nicola Cunningham) in their back garden, before they access the bat and spade from the shed. Shaun and Ed throw as much stuff from the kitchen as possible, but it has no effect. The pair then discover that if they throw records like frisbees at them it will eventually stop them. The pair grab Shaun's record collection, however, Shaun seems unwilling to part with a large number of them. This scene is so memorable due to the editing, the chunks of record sticking in the male zombie is just something that you can't help but laugh at, and Shaun pickiness over which records should be flung is just such small scale, but quality, comedy.

The cast is also strong. Pegg, Frost and Ashfield have superb comic timing, and they all play their characters to perfection. However, arguably, the most memorable performance is Wilton as Shaun's mum. As written by Wright she simply daydreams her way through the zombie filled London, the most innocent of people, looking out for neighbours and trying not to be a bother, and Wilton does this with great comical effect. In fact she makes her character such a daydreamer that when she is finally turned into a zombie there is basically no difference, and that is true comic gold. A number of British comedy stars have cameos/one-liners as well, including Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Martin Freeman and Rob Brydon, and after watching the film a couple of times through it is great fun trying to spot them.

With all of these elements combined Shaun of the Dead is a truly memorable comedy and one of several recent films that have redefined the genre of British comedy.


2004.
15.
Stars:
Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy, Peter Serafinowicz, Jessica Stevenson, Jeremy Thompson, Rafe Spall, Steve Emerson.

BAFTA nominations: Best British Film (Edgar Wright, Nira Park), Most Promising Newcomer(Nira Park).

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