Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Film With Me In It

Written by: Mark Doherty

Directed by: Ian Fitzgibbon

Starring: Dylan Moran, Mark Doherty, Amy Huberman, David O'Doherty

Rating: 8/10

Ian Fitzgibbon's black comedy A Film With Me In It is a dark, funny, grimy and somewhat depressing comedy, with a tone akin to Withnail and I that somehow makes the protagonists genuinely bleak disposition part of the overall charm. The less you know about the plot the better so I won't get into a summary here. But I will say this; your enjoyment of this film will depend on how much you will allow yourself to suspend disbelief. It is a film about coincidence and the lengths to which fate will go to in order to screw you over.

Mark, a struggling actor, lives with his invalid brother Dave and his beautiful girlfriend Sally in a run-down flat on the south-side of Dublin. His best friend Pierce (Dylan Moran) is an alcoholic writer whose comically morose outlook on life is the main comic relief in the film. Mark is behind in his rent, jobless and in trouble with Sally because he is too chicken to ask the gruff landlord to fix the many, many problems in their flat. Things go from bad to worse to downright cruel for Mark as a series of accidents land him in some seriously hot water.

The comedy here lies in the cruel joke that the universe in playing on the hapless Mark. He finds himself in a situation so implausible that there's no way to convince anyone that it is not of his own making. The aesthetic and humour are so pitch black that it can sometimes be difficult to endure but the snappy pacing and the clever dialogue keeps the film consistently entertaining. The chemistry between the leads is wonderful and it's easy to buy into the friendship between the pair of curmudgeonly grumps whose only emission of warmth is towards each other, and only on occasion. They are grumpy, they are sarcastic and you can't imagine why a girl like Sally would ever bother with either of them but they are also oddly likeable and as their situation gets more and more sticky you can't help but sympathise. I'm reminded of the under-rated dark comedies of Danny DeVito, films like The War of the Roses, Death to Smoochy and Our House, all films whose black hearts make for unsettling and guilty laughs, but laughs nonetheless. How much torture can we watch our heroes go through? It's an endurance test alright, but A Film With Me In It is likeable, well-plotted and has a hilariously nasty payoff.

Worth a watch.

Available from 30th September here

 - Charlene Lydon

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