Review: The End Of The F**king World, C4/All4

I've only watched the first episode of The End of the F**king World. Maybe there are more laughs later on. But at the moment this eight-part series, based on a comic by Charles Forsman, is a dark comedy with the emphasis very much on the dark.

Alex Lawther plays loner teenager James who harbours a desire to kill someone. He has already done in various animals and when he meets troubled outcast Alyssa ( Jessica Barden) he thinks maybe she'd be an interesting person to kill. Not that he does kill her. Instead, by the end of the first episode they are off on a road trip in James' dad's car. Presumably there will be some killing along the way.

The End of the F**king World certainly looks good. There is something disquieting about the way it feels both English and American at the same time. The school canteen seems very middle America and at one point they sit in a diner which could be straight out of Tarantino or Hopper. Except that when you look through the hazy window next to them you can see English suburban semi-detached houses. There is an eerie sense of displacement about the whole thing.

The camerawork could by a shade more original though. All those silent, static side-by-side scenes or on sofas – and the voiceover – have been done umpteen times before. And the colour palette had a ring of familiarity to it as well - the black and red clothing combo cropped up in Richard Ayoade's Submarine. 

But there is something about James and Alyssa that makes them hauntingly compelling. The camera certainly loves James' moonish face. You do want to keep watching them. Will they turn into an existential Bonnie & Clyde or teenage Thelma and Louise? Or maybe something altogether different? One way or another I'm not sure if there are going to be that many laughs.  

The End Of The F**king World, Tuesdays on C4, or watch whole series now on All4 here.

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