Wright is one filmmaker whom I have not quite followed, and to be honest, I was expecting Hot Fuzz to be nothing more than a farcical comedy. But the experience turned out somewhat differently. Yes, parts of the movie were truly preposterous, but they were intentionally and only superficially so. And of course, the film would not have been half as memorable without the wacky situations and wackier characters.
Nicolas Angel (Simon Pegg), a top cop in the London Police, is transferred to a quiet town called Sandford. Nicolas, initially upset about being forced to leave London, very quickly finds his feet and begins to perform his duties in the only style he knows. Soon enough, he has rounded up kids for underage drinking, a policeman for drunken driving and ran around trying to catch an elusive swan (yeah, you read it right!). Suddenly, the events take a sinister turn when two actors are brutally slaughtered by a mysterious person who dresses up as the Grim Reaper. Angel is certain that it is a case of homicide, but the townsfolk think of it as an accident, and carry on with their normal life. But dead bodies continue to show up, forcing Angel to take the charge and investigate the matter with some assistance from a bumbling fellow policeman Danny (Nick Frost), even as all others keep turning a blind eye to the crimes to the point of driving Angel absolutely crazy. As the two probe deeper, dirty secrets of Sandford begin to tumble out leading to a discovery which causes complete mayhem.
First things first, this film completely belongs to the two lead actors, Pegg and Frost. The two are in top form and their on-screen chemistry is arresting. Pegg is the quintessential hero of the film – brave, righteous and most importantly, infallible. Still, he manages to make the character of Angel look eminently real. Frost plays the role of a good-natured cop who desperately wants to be a part of the ‘action’. But in a place as eventless as Sandford, he has to make do watching bad-ass cop flicks (Bad Boys and Point Break; there could have been better films for the purpose of paying homage, but I’m not really complaining) most of the time. He plays Danny Butterman with a charming innocence and warmth and his performance alternates between having us in splits and making us smile quietly at his child-like gullibility. The development of the friendship between Danny and Angel is a key theme which adds to the emotional depth, which is so often found lacking in films belonging to this genre.
The plot runs at a feverish pace with hardly any time to ponder over the events. The editing, though very unorthodox, perfectly suits the tenor of the movie. Wright makes sure that his film does not become another spoof on the ‘slasher’ flicks, as the macabre death scenes, in spite of being cartoonish, create an atmosphere of suspense which is sure to keep the viewers guessing about the identity of the killer.
Like I said before, this is hardly a simple farcical comedy. The tone of the film is comic, rather cartoonish throughout with numerous pop culture references. But the emotional subtext provided by the budding friendship between Angel and Dan contribute greatly towards making the proceedings seem very relatable. Edgar Wright succeeds in making a hugely entertaining movie which so effortlessly blends a crazy plot with evocative social commentary.
Over-the-top, zany but not without substance, Hot Fuzz is a modern masterpiece which gives a whole new twist to the age-old concept of good versus evil. This is comedy at its best!