Film review: Hot Fuzz (2007), directed by Edgar Wright
Meet Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) – the Metropolitan Police’s best asset. He’s a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine! Loved by the people, feared by the criminals, Angel single-handedly manages to bring down the crime rate of his area and putting every one else on the force to shame. Needless to say, they can’t allow that to go on. He’s making everyone else look bad.
Angel’s senior officers (Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy and Steve Coogan) have him re-assigned from London to a small, picturesque village in rural Gloucestershire – and he can’t do anything to change the matter, except to take his Japanese peace lily and go.
His new colleagues are a laid back and carefree bunch. After all, they’re in the safest village in Britain! The village of Sandford seems very peaceful, at least to begin with. It has a small supermarket owned by Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), a Neighbourhood Watch Alliance, a florist, a church and the most troublesome thing in the whole village is one of those living statues.
Angel tries to fit in, but finds it hard. But before long, dead bodies start showing up – who is the killer and why were the murders committed? Or were they, as his colleagues keep insisting, merely freak accidents?
Down at the station, there’s naive but well-meaning Danny (Nick Frost), who enjoys cop movies and is quick to idolise Angel (“have you ever been in a car chase?”); Sergeant Turner (the ever brilliant Bill Bailey), who seems to have a bit of a split personality thing going on with how he salutes people; Tony (Kevin Eldon) and Doris (Olivia Colman) make up the rest of the team, headed by the chief of police, Frank (Jim Broadbent), who also happens to be Danny’s father. The police station wouldn’t be complete without the two Andys: DS Wainwright (Paddy Considine) and DC Cartwright (Rafe Spall), who have very little in common with Mr Barnaby of Midsomer Murders.
Other notable appearances are Edward Woodward, David Bradley (Filch in Harry Potter) as a grumpy old farmer, Lucy Punch (Vexed) as an amateur drama actor, Alice Lowe (Horrible Histories) as a supermarket girl, and the uncredited, and hidden by a face mask, Cate Blanchett as Jeanine (Angel’s ex girlfriend) and THE Peter Jackson as an equally uncredited thief dressed as Santa.
If you haven’t gathered yet that Hot Fuzz is a British comedy that parodies old cop shows and films, well … then you haven’t really heard of the Pegg/Frost combination before, have you? (Four words: Shaun of the Dead.)
Hot Fuzz is hilarious. Take a super-serious by-the-book copper and plonk him in the middle of a really twisted episode of Midsomer Murders and there you are. Complete with Mr Rochester in a ‘tache and all. You think you know where it’s going and why, but you’re not quite sure. And then it twists, turns and goes rather dark, but all the while, you’re still laughing. Many times out loud, because you can’t help yourself.
Brilliant film, even if you’re not crazy about cop movies or cop movie tropes (this contains a bundle, and lampshades them to boot). If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out.
4.2 out of 5 Cornettos.