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Comedian, The


Stars: Edward Hogg, Elisa Lasowski, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Steven Robertson, Jamie Baughan, Gerard Murphy, Caolan Byrne, Kate Rutter, Nyasha Hatendi, Azara Meghie, Barnaby Slater, Edyta Budnik, Brett Goldstein, Martha Bishoff, Mike Belgrave

Director: Tom Shkolnik

The Comedian marks the feature film debut of director Tom Shkolnik whose ‘rules’ include “Only one take is allowed by two cameras at most” and “We must not know what will happen next in the story and invent the film day by day” and my favourite, which almost certainly guarantees his movie critical overrating, “”While filming we must never disrupt or stop the regular functioning of a space”. In fact, the trick he misses is making The Comedian in English rather than the more intellectual appealing subtitles.

Improvisation may have helped the actors, led by Edward Hogg, who gives the film more than it deserves before being defeated by a meandering storyline that finally founders in an ill-lit, ill-acted and dramatically pointless conversation in a London taxi between Hogg and the driver. Prior to this welcome anticlimax, we follow aspirant stand-up-comedian Hogg as he tries to make it on the fringes of the London comedy circuit at night while miserably working at a call-centre by day,

While he lives with beautiful French singer Elisa Lasowski, their relationship is asexual. Instead he falls for handsome black artist Nathan Stewart Jarrett and embarks on a passionate affair, leaving Hogg with a choice between his love for a man and a woman – and leaving audiences to have to sit through 79 overlong minutes…

All three actors offer considerably more than the material and direction deserve. Let’s hope next time around they find better opportunities for their talents.

(Incidentally I imagine you will eventually be able to see The Comedian for free on television if you wait long enough). You might as well wait, since the film was produced with lottery money which means you might already have – willing or not – probably paid towards its production.

Alan Frank

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Trinity Filmed Entertaiment. Colour.
79 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 31 May 2013