Newest Review: ... first to do so with a comedic slant. With a huge British cast, featuring cameos from comedians such as Ronnie Corbett, Reece Shearsmith, ... more
A Tale of Two Berks
Burke and Hare  (DVD)
Member Name: SpiderJamb
Burke and Hare  (DVD)
Advantages: British humour, Similar to Blackadder
Disadvantages: Not quite sure of the tone of the movie
**FILM ONLY REVIEW**
Burke & Hare were two serial killers who committed the West Port murders during the 19th Century, in order to sell their cadavers to Dr Robert Knox, of Edinburgh Medical College, for dissection in anatomy lessons. Whilst they initially supplied corpses belonging to those who died of natural causes, they saw how lucrative this could be and ended up murdering people in order to increase the frequency of their 'product'.
This 2010 film adaptation is not the first to focus on the Burke & Hare murders, but is the first to do so with a comedic slant. With a huge British cast, featuring cameos from comedians such as Ronnie Corbett, Reece Shearsmith, Stephen Merchant and Paul Whitehouse, there is a distinct Blackadder feel to the story, with the grim theme of grave robbing dealt with using elements of slapstick comedy.
The humour seems to be rather similar to the Horrible Histories books, and akin to the sort of theatrics you would expect to see in London Dungeon. The story seems a strange one to adapt into comedy and perhaps it would have been better to use a completely fictional tale, rather than attempt to fit a comedic story into pre-established facts, as it felt somewhat restricted as to where the plot could go by the true events.
Regarding the lead characters, there is a lack of screen chemistry between Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg and at times it leaves the relationship between the two seeming a bit false. It's missing the connection evident in the friendship between Simon Pegg & Nick Frost, in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Perhaps if Frost had been cast as Hare, there might have been more life behind the characters.
Another issue with the film is the choice to film it as a dark comedy, considering they are true murders which occurred one hundred years ago. I wonder if in another hundred years, there will be comedies about the Moors Murderers and the Wests. It's strange how time seems to lessen the offensive nature of using real life tragedies to plot comedies.
Overall, this was an average film, which would appeal to fans of Sweeney Todd and Blackadder, who appreciate a darker edge to their slapstick comedy. Fans of Simon Pegg's work with Nick Frost and Edgar Wright might want to give it a miss, though, even if it reunites Jessica Hynes with her Spaced co-star.
This review originally appeared on my blog
Summary: Feels like it could have been better