The End of the F***ing World gets straight to work in assuring us that it will be a fast-paced, edgy and cynical show.
Stylistically, The End of the F***ing World is reminiscent of Wes Anderson films, though reminds me most of Richard Ayoade’s Submarine (2011) in the framing of the characters and the dominating presence of British countryside and coast. However similar, The End of the F***ing World gets dark quick, and unobtrusively disturbing the whole way.
The main characters James (Alex Lawther, Black Mirror) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) are a deeply troubled pair; James is convinced his lack of empathy means he’s a psychopath and wants to murder someone to be sure, while Alyssa is acting out and looks to cause outrage wherever she goes. But of course these behaviours come from somewhere and whilst getting away from their lives the couple needs to find a way to get to the bottom of how they’re really feeling.
Initially, I was a little unconvinced. After watching the trailer I felt the show was trying to pull off something that Wes Anderson could do a lot better, and after the first two episodes I still wasn’t sure. However, when James and Alyssa find themselves in a terrifying situation and hit the road for real, everything starts to get much better. Trying to maintain their relationship while battling the fear of being caught is far more exciting than just watching the character’s “out-weird” each other. As we learn more about them and watch James and Alyssa develop, the series really strengthens and gives us something that feels fresh.
The highlight of the show for me, however, has to be all the other characters. I loved the little side-plot of the two detectives and their dynamic, and it’s great to see actors from my favourite shows again with Wunmi Mosaku (Black Mirror) and Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones). It felt different and gave us a break from the teen characters. I loved the clerks at the gas stations, the security guard and the parents.
All the side characters are rich in personality and interfered in clever ways and I appreciated the care taken to stop them from being just vehicles for the plot. Additionally, the backdrop for the show was beautiful, especially to me who grew up on the coast of south-east England. I loved the way the show managed to weave a typically American genre of Bonnie and Clyde style road tripping into a British setting.
With a few traumatic events and a climactic finish, The End of the F***ing World is somehow both light-hearted and compelling, a fantastic binge-watch which gives lots to think about.
The End of the Fu***ing World
24 October 2017
2 hrs 45 mins