Wednesday, 13 June 2012

One reason to watch... A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)

One reason to watch A Fantastic Fear of Everything - we all have a banana to face.

"This is the story of me, Jack. There I am, absolutely shitting it."

If you've been on the London underground recently you may have been confronted by the sight of a dishevelled and hairy Simon Pegg wearing a nasty yellow jumper and dirty pair of white pants. Not in person, as far as I know his press junket hasn't involved roaming the nether regions of the London subway system, but in poster form.

A Fantastic Fear of Everything is the story of Jack, a writer of children's books who develops an irrational fear of everything when he starts researching Victorian serial killers for a project he's working on. Jack becomes paralysed by this fear, which would be fine if people would just leave him alone to fester in his flat. But TV mogul Harvey Humphries is interested in his script and needs to meet him before he flies back to America, and Jack doesn't have a clean shirt to wear. A trip to the launderette is in order, but this place filled with washers, dryers and soap dispensers is the primal site of Jack's greatest fear and one he's never faced since childhood. Making it through a laundry cycle isn't as easy as you might think...

This is a difficult film to recommend, because I think the way Jack's story unfolds will put a lot of people off. This story is monologues in the bathroom and supergluing a carving knife to your hand, it's dark twisted shadows and singing gangsta rap, it's one hedgehog crossing the road and another turning into a monster in the dark dark woods, it's ineffective community police support... and it's facing the banana that you've projected your fear onto.

Simon Pegg is very watchable as Jack, he manages to create a delicate insanity in the flat that spills out into the real world of the launderette with humour and sadness. Respect to Pegg for running around in his (horrid) pants for a lot of this film and for accusing a fictional hedgehog of being a "prickly c**t". Genius. One of the few criticisms I have is that the story goes on a little too long (100 minutes feels too much).

This is not the hedgehog you are looking for, but the only
one I could find on the bookshelf.

If you can find it at a cinema near you, please make some time for A Fantastic Fear of Everything.

Then go home, superglue your windows shut and sleep with a carving knife under your pillow. Because you never know what's lurking in the shadows or in your mind.

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