>You know what makes a dark comedy successful? Well, it’s usually funny for a start. Burke and Hare isn’t. Therefore let’s just stop calling it a dark comedy from the outset and there’ll be no further misunderstandings between us.
The plot is fairly simple. Two Irish wasters decide to sell dead bodies to the local medical school to be used in dissections. The problem is that the business proves lucrative and the bodies few, so Mr Burke and Mr Hare decide to start topping people off in order to meet the growing demand. Of course, they’re found out, and Burke falls in love. But without it, there’d be barely any story at all. Hell, there’s barely any as it is.
I’m fairly easy to please humour-wise. And, until Burke and Hare, I thought the comedic sun shone from Simon Pegg’s under crackers. Andy Serkis, however, I expect nothing from. Unless he’s wearing a loin cloth and slavering on a fish, he’s useless. I don’t say this lightly. His second major role was a massive monkey, for god’s sake. Then there’s the utter waste of oxygen that was The Cottage. I don’t even know what that film was about. And so you’d think that between these two actors, we’d get some kind of mid-ground. Serkis’ intensity and Pegg’s comedy genius.
There is no mid-ground. As you walk closer to the mid-ground, you realise that there’s a thin layer of scrub and nothing but a shite-filled ditch underneath.
I love metaphors.
If you liked Spaced, you’ll have a fun time spotting the old characters (Tyres actor Michael Smiley being the best actor out of the lot). Jessica Hynes has the best accent out of the main characters (the others slip and slide between Irish and Scottish as if all celts are the same). Unfortunately her overacted sex scenes (you heard me) with Serkis are both stupidly unfunny and horrifically unsexy.
You’re waiting for the upside, right?
Well, you can stop that right now. There isn’t one.
Ok, the costume and settings are pretty good (can you see how far I’m having to go to think of something nice to say?). Except for the fact that you can apparently see Edinburgh castle from every street in the city.
This sounds like a terrible thing, but the dead bodies are pretty convincing. I’ve seen enough to know. Not in a serial killer kind of way, obviously. And the only time a chuckle rose from my throat was when the first old man is unveiled in Dr Knox’s basement, bent double like a contortionist in spasm.
Of course, there’s Isla Fisher’s previous prostitute and aspiring actress Ginny. And if it wasn’t for her magical vanishing accent, I’d put her in the positives. As it is, she’s an annoyance and incurable prick-tease.
So, I’m not enamoured by Burke and Hare, to say the least. But, if it had a complete overhaul of script, cast and director, I dare say it could be good.
“Gives you time to balance your cheque book.”