Impressions of … The Comedian (Tom Shkolnik)

I wanted to like this, I really did, I have a lot of sympathy with their attitude to filmmaking, their pursuit of a kind of raw, emotional realism, an antidote, perhaps, if not an opposition to the growing dominance of the over-determined, script-centred model …

but it failed, and worse, its failure empowers the enemy (if you’ll forgive the hyperbole)

this was half a film, or two-thirds, to be more precise: the narrative ran out of energy, no, it didn’t run out, it just stopped, and in place of a final act, or whatever you want to call it, was a long, banal conversation with a taxi driver, culminating in a platitude where there should have been an answer, one leading to dramatic action and ideally further ambivalence, you wonder if the production ran out of time and papered over the gap with this excuse for an ending? or did they actually think it was adequate? – they can’t possibly have intended this ending … can they?

we were presented with an intriguing character, a soft-spoken thirtysomething comedian whose on-stage persona is aggressive and confrontational, but the ‘script’ failed to explore this tension, yes, he was a homosexual (and this was parsed as if it were some kind of revelation or shock), yes, he was confused by his attraction to his beautiful female flatmate and his sweet new male lover, unable to commit to both, so we needed to be watching him attempt to resolve this, that’s to say, trying to resolve it, or alternatively actively making it worse, through which, ideally, we would get a better of sense of who he was … but the writer declined to venture an answer, or even a hypothesis, the character’s aggressive on-stage was thus merely incidental

guys, it’s not enough to merely present a character, expressing an attitude to filmmaking is not enough, nor is it enough – though it’s an achievement – to go out and get some good performances in the can, and when your goal is authenticity one really live scene – the homophobic abuse on the bus – is not enough, not when you’ve got a whole bunch of hackneyed ones around it, the most egregious being every moment in the call-centre offices – how many times have we seen this scenario? (an example of something being both true to life and a cliché)

if this is a fresh voice, then Shkolnik has only managed to clear his throat



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