Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Burke and Hare (2010)

Here is that rarest of films -- a recent comedy that is actually funny. Not quirky, not cute, not ironic, but genuinely, uproariously funny. It's the kind of comedy that leaves you elated even after it's over. How this one didn't get more attention upon its release is beyond me. Director John Landis blends broad slapstick farce (reminiscent of Mel Brooks' best work) with characteristically British black humor to tell the story of the pair of grave robbers who made a living by acquiring cadavers to sell to Edinburgh University's medical school.

Landis (along with screenwriters Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft) skillfully turns this premise into a cheerfully silly (and exceptionally handsomely-mounted) period comedy that succeeds in large part due to the superb performances of Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis in the title roles, supported by some of Britain's finest acting talents (both comedic and dramatic), including Tim Curry, Tom Wilkinson, Ronnie Corbett, Jessica Hynes, Isla Fisher, Hugh Bonneville, David Schofield, David Hayman, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Lee, and fun cameo appearances by filmmakers Ray Harryhausen, Michael Winner and Costa-Gavras, among others.

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