This week’s Netflix pick is the British dark comedy-drama The End of the F***king World. Based on the graphic novel by Charles S. Forsman about two misfit rebellious teenagers who find in each other the opportunity to escape their tumultuous home lives, albeit both with their own agendas.
Alyssa (Jessica Bardem) is quite popular at school but despite this, she feels like she doesn’t fit in, in fact she doesn’t believe she fits in to society at all. Alyssa goes out of her way to prove she doesn’t care about anyone or what they think, having a foul-mouth and insulting anyone that gets in her way. James (Alex Lawther) is convinced he is a psychopath, he has become bored with killing animals and decides he needs to move on to something bigger. The narrative switches between the two and James explains that he has believed from a young age that he has no emotions or empathy, also noting his lack of a sense of humour. Alyssa is inexplicably drawn to James, he seems to be the one person she can connect and feel comfortable with, unfortunately for her, James just sees her as the perfect candidate to fulfil his twisted fantasy of killing someone.
James has a father that clearly loves him but unfortunately only succeeds in annoying James. Alyssa has a creepy stepfather who makes it clear he has a disliking for her, along with a mother who is heavily influenced by her spouse and allows him to manipulate things between her and her daughter. Alyssa decides she has had enough and wants to run away, she convinces James to skip town with her. Her goal is to find her estranged father, who she hasn’t seen since she was very young. James just agrees to go so that he can find the perfect opportunity to carry out his murderous plan.
Once they’re on the road they face immediate danger, with things soon spiraling out of control. The show switches between past and present and it becomes clear that both James and Alyssa have had a difficult and sad past. The story of these two socially-awkward outcasts is surprisingly endearing despite a lot of their acts being questionable. The events that occur bring James to doubt himself and the things he was sure of for some time, is he the callous psychopath he thought he was? Is he capable of feeling emotion?
The show has a typical British feel with a sardonic tone, the title makes it pretty clear it isn’t going to be a happy story. However, it is classed as a dark comedy and there are some comedic moments that do fit nicely in to the otherwise bleak tone. The show also produces that edge of your seat feeling where you don’t know what will happen next and moments that ask the question, where will they go from here?
The series originally aired its first episode on channel 4 shortly before all episodes became available on All4. It was when the series became available to watch on Netflix that it started to pick up speed and has since become a global hit. With a total of 8 episodes at a run time of 18-22 minutes each, it won’t take you long to binge this one. The good news being that you won’t have to wait too long for it to get going and make your mind up as to whether this is for you.
I am a fan of a good enticing storyline which is exactly what you will find here. Thrown in are very good performances and some interesting scenes which do make you think about what you would do in their situation. I have heard some people say that The End of the F***king World glorifies criminal behaviour, I strongly disagree, if anything it is more of a wake-up call to how quickly things can go wrong and how scary things become when you rebel and allow yourself to act on your impulses.
Overall The End of the F***king World is a brilliant piece of dark, concise and emotionally charged drama. At times you may laugh, at times you may feel disturbed by it all, it’s a roller coaster ride from start to finish. There is a big debate as to whether there should be a season 2, some saying the way the season ended was a perfect way to finish. Others feel there is much more to explore, lots of questions that need answers and plenty more that can happen. I am with the latter, as soon as the season ended I found myself wanting more, there is so much more to be done here. I will be eagerly awaiting any confirmation to see if the story will continue.
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