Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The tale of a police officer who is committed to upholding unpopular laws, who abhors violence and whose only close personal relationship is with a plant, Hot Fuzz might not sound like the year's most likely cinematic success story, but this film comes from the team who brought you Spaced and Shaun Of The Dead and it doesn't pull any punches when it comes to fun. Described by co-writer/actor Simon Pegg as "a cross between Heartbeat and Lethal Weapon, and taking a detour through Wicker Man territory", it's formulaic but exuberant, packed with quirky humour and very difficult not to like.

Causing problems in London because his high arrest record makes his colleagues look bad, PC Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is transferred to the sleepy English village of Sandford where, at first, he finds very little to do. Opening with such a depressed, uptight character in an unhappy situation is a bit of a gamble, making the film initially difficult to engage with, but patience will be rewarded. Before long, Angel realises that life in the village is not what it seems ("Ever wondered why the crime rate is so low and yet the accident rate is so high?") and his attempts to uncover the truth behind a string of grisly deaths gradually place his own life in peril. The tension is alleviated by his burgeoning friendship with the irrepressible PC Butterman (Nick Frost), an idealistic country copper, whose vocational education has come from Hollywood police action movies.

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Essentially, this is the same best friends love story that we've seen in the team's previous work and no attempt is made to pretend otherwise, with many of the same jokes turning up, but it works nevertheless. Meanwhile, an accomplished supporting cast round out the population of the village with pitch-perfect performances.

Hot Fuzz is not a perfect film. It has far too many endings, though each is individually impressive and it would be hard to say which should be dropped; in sequence they become too repetitive. Its referential humour will leave some viewers lost and audiences outside the UK will probably find much of it confusing, failing to appreciate, for instance, the full amusement value of gun battles in Somerfields. That said, it's nice to see a film which doesn't concern itself so much with marketability as with telling its own story.

The confidence with which the film unfolds works strongly in its favour and it is superbly constructed, with all sorts of apparently irrelevant early details turning out to be important later on. It is clearly a labour of love and is probably one of the most entertaining films you'll see this year.

Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2007
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Tongue-in-cheek British twist on the buddy cop genre.
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Read more Hot Fuzz reviews:

Kotleta ****
Anton Bitel ****

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