A Film With Me In It
Extraordinarily black comic farce, crowd pleasing for a somewhat twisted crowd.
A Film With Me In It would perhaps win some sort of prize for 'least useful film title ever', although undeniably, it is indeed a film with me in it, for given values of me where me equals Mark Doherty, playing Mark, a struggling actor months behind with his rent and in immediate danger of having his girlfriend walk out on him. Me also equals Dylan Moran as Pierce, an equally struggling writer slash director slash alcoholic, played in that typical Moran fashion. Me also equals, at least briefly, Keith Allen as Jack, their understandably peeved landlord.
Briefly, because while this film seems to be setting up a low-key rom-com like film it abruptly jack-knifes into a blackly comic farce. A set of shelves fall on Mark's dog, killing it. Almost immediately afterwards, a chandelier falls on top of Mark's disabled brother, killing him. Shocked and dazed by this, he's unable to tell Jack what's just occurred as he barges in to fix a dodgy kitchen light, promptly falling off a chair, ramming a screwdriver into his neck in the process and shuffling off his mortal coil.
Needing some sort of solace and advice, he calls Pierce round who immediately recognises that explaining this to the police might be difficult, but things soon get worse as Mark's girlfriend shows up on the scene, witnesses the carnage and faints, impaling herself on a clarinet stand. Corpse count: 4; three human, one canine.
Realising that having this many fatal accidents occur in so short a space of time is, as Pierce would have it, 'taking the piss' and explaining this to the police will now be near impossible, the pair now have to come up with some sort of way of staging this so as to not wind themselves up in jail on a triple murder charge.
Perhaps surprisingly for such an extraordinarily grim setup, the film is rather deeply funny, in a rather black way. The word 'farce' is almost offensive these days, as travesties like Death a a Funeral will attest to, but this particular example works in part because of screenwriter Mark Doherty's understated, shellshocked turn, but also because of Moran doing that Moran thing.
If you're going to pick holes in this film, then you might be tempted to start with Moran's wide eyed, dazed, punch drunk, delivery that he almost always does, and while yes, this doesn't stretch his talents to new and unusual places, this is only an issue if it ever stops being funny. And it hasn't. So shut up, theoretical critic.
It's not a life changing experience, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least for those attuned to a darker comedic sense then this is a rare treat, as while it's perhaps not as good as this year's similarly dark In Bruges, it's not far off and better than pretty much any example from some years prior. Well worth a look when it gets a full release, as I assume that it will at some point over the next year.
Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 4/5 TippyMarks.
Mark Doherty (Mark)
Amy Huberman (Sally)
Jack (Keith Allen)