From our ReadingTooMuchIntoThingsAndMassiveFilmSpoiler correspondent.
Squeezed between the laddish banter, knockabout violence and Baggy tunes there’s parts of Edgar Wright’s new film The Worlds’ End that nod towards a critique of capitalism, at least in its homogenising neoliberal globalisation form as experienced in this country.
Stepford-esque banality is revealed as the work of The Network, a sort of intergalactic IMF structurally adjusting planets to make them behave as rational actors in universal congress. You can’t reasonably be against them because they give you want you want, everyone can be young and attractive again and it’s just common sense. There Is No Alternative.
It’s a very weak, things-are-going-to-the-dogs critique, “all the streets|pubs|shops look the same these days”, which fits with the pub-bore blokiness of the film. There are 2 women in this film: the sister, who exists to be lusted after|joked about|protected|fought over and the interchangeable schoolgirl succubus androids there to be (comically) smacked about.
It’s the one-dimensional nature of the group that ends up fighting off the alien invasion, the vanguard in the revolution against The Network if you like, that got me thinking that maybe there’s something much more subtle going on(*). The final battle in the eponymous pub sees the main character and his best mate backed up by 2 more middle-aged white men(**) and an elderly conspiracy theorist. Their “revolution” consists of drunken, belligerent bampottery and a singalong to Primal Scream. Four privileged guys say “this is shit” loudly, that’s all we need.
Sound like any groups you know?
This is not a diverse group and it can’t represent the whole of the working class: with no women, non-whites or genderqueers, their claim to represent Earth is clearly bogus. Middle-aged, middle-class, middle-English ennui is not the whole of the exploitation experience.
Amusingly, the revolution this narrow group kicks off? It’s a full-on, back to the Dark Ages, primitivist nihilist fuck up of a revolution. Millions die, no more technology, devolution into macho survivalist fantasyland. Pol Pot crossed with Mad Max wearing Derrick Jensen’s jackboots. You don’t want to go there, even if the pubs no longer look the same.
So, maybe this is the point. Make a revolution without all of us? Better not bother.
(*) — there clearly isn’t, but play along with me.
(**) — interestingly, the director seems to see the potential racist rallying cry in the “this town used to be a community” undertone and feels the need to head that off with an epilogue where the main character goes around fighting nazis for “blank” rights. (But, whoops, who’s the leader of that group? Yeah. More white man saviour fantasy, nevermind.)
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