ROME – That of Hot fuzz is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cinephile cases of the last fifteen years of British (and non-British) cinema. Presented in London on February 13, 2007, it allowed its director, the English Edgar Wright, to maintain the already very high expectations after that jewel of pure filmic freshness that had been Shaun of the Dead of 2004, more than perfect meeting point between the parody of Mel Brooks, the zombies of George A. Romero and the British humour. Not only that, with this film he also managed to largely exceed those expectations, following their path in order to consolidate the thematic elements of the so-called Cornetto Trilogy which then concluded, six years later, with the last act: The end of the world.
To explain its meaning – of the wording Trilogy of the Cornetto, we mean – we report the words that Wright himself said during the presentation of Hot fuzz which is the central and connecting element of the thematic trilogy: «Like Kieslowski’s Three Colors, but with flavours…Three flavors of Cornetto Algida». In the reinvent yourself Kieslowski, Wright drew in that decade a thematic trilogy on the colors/flavors of Croissant to which to associate – with each color – the reinterpretation of a particular film genre: The dawn of the Living Dead with the Strawberry Croissant with a bright red color related to the blood spatter of horror cinema; Hot fuzz with the original Cornetto in the blue color like the uniform of the policemen of the police genre; The end of the worldwith the Croissant mint with chocolate chips and that brownish green with which Wright identified science fiction.
In addition to this, however, the films of the Trilogy are characterized by connections and recurring elements – basically Wrightian film topos – such as drinking in the pub, a pair of twins among the characters and a sequence in which at a certain point Simon Pegg ( Wright’s fetish and co-writer) performs a fence jump in wide shot. Needless to say in Hot fuzz the feat is decidedly more successful, spontaneous, magnetic. The reason? The valence of his Sergeant Nicholas Angel. In playing it all in contrast between the (almost) superhero dimension of the hero, now with the urban normality of London, now with the extraordinary rural Sandford, Angel’s impeccable efficiency of actions and intentions explodes into a gimmick through which to tell about the inefficiency of the police between nepotism, corruption and bureaucracy.
But above all of the aesthetics of action cinema. Wright makes them of her, recalibrating them and making them live by the contrast of which the rural narrative of Hot fuzztelling us about supersonic chases after a trivial theft in a suburban supermarket or an authentic manhunt – or rather, to the swan – from the impressive deployment of forces, to then give shape to a solid narrative plot capable of hiding, behind the apparently peaceful Sandford, thriller-horror atmospheres populated by rivers of blood, bullets, intrigues, misdirections and a final showdown cartoonish and chaotic of pure filmic adrenaline. The rest is done by directing, an art in which Wright is already a master, using rigor and rhythm, tight editing and Leonian inventions, coloring the story with figurative comedy (the first fifteen minutes of Hot fuzz I am one master class) and quotes.
And here is some genius. The declared excellent intentions of recoding the action genre operated by Wright with Hot fuzz they are enhanced by a superfine cinephile dimension that goes far beyond the simple homage, ending up enriching the actions of the characters and the context. Starting from the narration for example, the perfect meeting point between the esotericism of The Wicker Man and the desert of Terror in the cityor the comic characterization of Angel halfway between the loneliness of the sheriff de High noon (which you can read about here) and actions super from Supercopdisturbing even cornerstones of the genre buddy how Point Break – Breaking point (which you can read about instead here) and the saga of Bad Boys for to color now the relational dynamic between Angel and Butterman (Nick Frost), now between Butterman himself and the very uncomfortable father figure (Jim Broadbent).
After all, there has always been something about the detective genre – and particularly the subgenre buddy – to magnetically attract Wright and for a very simple reason: «There is no real tradition of crime films in the UK. We felt that every other film nation had its tradition of great crime action films while we had none». Over the next two years Wright and Pegg worked on the script for Hot fuzz immersing himself in a world made of drafts, marathons of themed films (a good 138! And all coming from Wright’s immense video library) and about fifty interviews with police officers. Then the choice of the title. According to Wright it was supposed to be a play on words based on the lapidary titles of the Hollywood crime films of the eighties and nineties: «I just wanted it to have little meaning, like Lethal Weapon, Point Break, and Critical Decision». This is precisely the purest essence of Edgar Wright’s cinema.
A continuous research aimed at the playful-but-careful reinterpretation of genres and aesthetics, now videogames as in Scott Pilgrim v The World cinematic hours between the formidable Baby Drivers (which you can read about here) – poised between Driver The Uncatchable And Drive – and the dreamlike Last night in Soho (which you can read about instead here) against the backdrop of a nostalgic and distant London authentic cultural cauldron melting pop ever changing. Just like Wright’s poetics which has evolved over the years from the citationist interpretation of a specific genre to the coding of its own filmic language. The merit of the Cornetto Trilogy and of Hot fuzz so? Having shown us the freshness of writing and the originality of Wright, young but already grown up, because talent, as we know, can blossom at any moment…
Below you can see the trailer of the film: