Friday, 21 January 2011

Crying with Laughter

A real ‘Stand up’ performance!

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“A shambolic stand up comic Joey Fisk (a terrific Stephen McCole in a welcome lead role) meets an acquaintance from his school days Frank Archer (an understated Malcolm Shields) whose attentions have a sinister ulterior motive. It's hard enough to do a comedy or a really good thriller with genuine shocks but to combine them both without diminishing either is a real accomplishment from writer/director Justin Molotnikov. It's great to see a whole cast of Scottish faces that are new to the big screen. Here's hoping it gets a good distribution deal.”

I agree, the lead role was played to perfection by Stephen McCole, it really is a fantastic performance! The mixing of comedy and thriller is good if a little undermined by its setting (I’ll explain down bellow)

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“The over all impression I had of Crying With Laughter was that of a film student or amateur film maker being let loose with a professional film crew and not really knowing what to do with it. The script wasn't great and the plot that unfolded down right silly. Low budget film makers always seem to feel the need to have a shocking element to their story as if this makes it intrinsically good drama and an obligatory climatic scene where all is revealed. It actually started off reasonably well with a solid enough character, the stand up comedian Joey Frisk played by Stephen MacCole. He's a bit clichéd but a decent script could have built around him and his relationship with his family. Instead a totally unconvincing character called Frank starts hanging around trying to get him to attend a school reunion. Frank apparently beats up Joey's landlord and then claims to be a witness to Joey doing it and identifies him in a police line up. It's such a severe attack that Joey is facing the possibility of many years in prison. Frank then pretends to be a friend to Joey offering him a place to live and even an alibi. Anyway a very silly plot unfolds where Frank kidnaps a former teacher who raped him as a child and as it turns out Joey but to be honest by this point I didn't really care. Frank also kidnaps Joeys daughter for reasons that shall remain a mystery. The ending is a bit daft and there is absolutely no resolution as to what will happen to any of the characters concerning the assault charge or the kidnapping. Not that I was particularly interested in finding out.”

I think this reviewer needs to re-watch it, it’s really not that hard to follow what’s going on or understand why certain characters act the way they do, or do the things they do. A bit harsh as even if you think the story is silly (which it isn’t) the lead performance is convincing and really watchable, it’s nice to route for a character.

What I thought:
So it’s a Scottish indie film, it’s gritty and darkly funny and that’s all your really need to know before watching it. During the film you should be struck by what is powerhouse of a performance from a little known actor who was strangely in Wes Andersons Rushmore. You should predict what’s going on and indeed what’s going to happen half way through but you won’t mind. After watching it, you’ll reflect that you’ve seen a film that you didn’t think was going to be anything special when actually it’s a very good.

Mixing this gritty real life look at an aspiring stand up comedian whose life is running off the rails, with a thriller is hard. Most thrillers people are used to seeing are bigger budgeted and not often in Scotland, Shallow Grave being a brilliant exception! The result of this is that the thrilling part that is supposed to have you on the edge of the seat has an odd effect. Maybe its life in the Uk I don’t know, but its laced with this kind of “everything will eventually go wrong” state of mind.

This does not however detract from the quality of this film as our heroes past un-coils in front of his eyes in a very brutal way. You saw this coming but didn’t know how they would get here or how they would resolve it. Here in lies the biggest plot hole of all, its fine to let your audience imagine what happens next but at least throw them a bone, all of things going on and characters that we’ve watched are just cut off in favour of a sweet scene. It’s ok for our hero but is it ok for our audience, that all depends on the audience.

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.