The world is going to end, and there’s nothing we can do. No Bruce Willis will save us at the last minute, no God is going to whisk anybody away to safety. The human race and the Earth as we know it will be obliterated in 21 days. How would you spend your final moments?
Dodge (Steve Carell), whose wife was last seen running away screaming when the news broke, initially tries to go on, but as the world grinds to a halt and civilization disintegrates around him, he realizes something: He must find his high school sweetheart, the one that got away, and reconnect with her before it’s too late.
It just so happens that his erratic neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) also needs to be someplace else. And so this mismatched pair join forces and head off into a world on the brink of destruction, in a last ditch effort to make it all worthwhile.
I’m no big fan of Steve Carell, so I fully expected to hate Seeking a Friend… due to that fact alone. I also figured this was a film that would use its frightening premise to play out some goofy love story, and then chicken out at the very last minute and save everybody.
Luckily I was completely wrong.
Seeking a Friend… does start off as a comedy, but it’s a wonderfully dark one, where humanity’s pathetic attempts to go out with a bang is exposed with uncomfortable clarity. Then the film turns to a offbeat road movie, but again, the darkness looms oppressively over every happy moment for our two travelers. And finally the film transforms into something completely real in the last act, as the inevitable end draws ever nearer, bringing everything into sharp focus. It’s a surprisingly effective emotional journey.
I love end of the world movies, especially the ones where the end is given, and where the interesting part is what happens in those last desperate days. Last Night (1998) is one of my favorites, and now this one is too.
Finally some praise must be leveled at Steve Carell, who’s at his finest here. Completely relaxed and natural, perhaps even surpassing his performance in Little Miss Sunshine.
Audio & Video:
The film was shot digitally on the Arri Alexa (also used on the Oscar-winning Hugo), and I hate to say it, because I love real film so much, but the visuals are pretty much flawless. Good contrast, strong colors, and a great romantic look when needed.
As is often the case with comedies the soundtrack is mostly uneventful when it comes to surround effect. Occasionally the back channels make themselves known, but mostly they just provide a soft ambience. Still, for a film like this it’s just fine. The dialogue is crisp and clear. Ditto for the music.
This combo pack contains both Blu-ray, DVD, digital copy and Ultraviolet copy. The Blu-ray is region free.
The extras consist of a commentary with writer director Lorene Scafaria, and a few other more or less random people. Haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet, but apparently it’s awful, with very little information about the making of the film. A mildly amusing bunch of outtakes, a useless “A Look Inside” and brief featurette about music round out the unimpressive bonus materials.
Seeking a Friend… caught me by surprise and completely won me over. I found it absolutely charming and touching – a near perfect little gem. Funny, gentle, and melancholic. One of the year’s best.
Extra Features: D-