Ah, that realm of ink-black secrets bubbling beneath the brittle crust of English normalcy and reserve. Writer/director Edgar Wright has taken us here before, first with the zomboid whimsy of Shaun of the Dead and then with the constabulary conspiracies of Hot Fuzz. The final installment of Wright's Cornetto trilogy--so named after flavors of the frozen dessert cone--The World's End brings us back to this world of absurdist mayhem, of encroaching tyrannies and nonconformist heroism and pubs. Especially pubs.
The title of the film is, along with its more literal meanings, the name of the 12th and final stop on the "Golden Mile," a legendary pub crawl undertaken by five teenage friends in June 1990. The boys did not complete their herculean venture--pub (and pint) No. 9 exhausted even the limits of adolescent endurance--and over the succeeding 20+ years they've moved on to marriage, divorce, kids, and careers as lawyers or car salesmen or real estate agents.
All save one. The self-styled leader of the juvenile pack, Gary King (Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote the script), has remained stubbornly juvenile: same leather duster and boots and rocker rings and pendants; same car playing the same cassette in its tape deck; same substance-abuse problem. It is in the sullen grayness of a recovery program that he undergoes the twin epiphanies that a) the pub crawl was the premature zenith of his existence and b) he never finished it.