Dark comedy is the best comedy in my opinion! Classics like Dr. Strangelove, Happiness, Fargo all showed us that humour can have a dark side. We’ve laughed about murder, violence, teenage anxiety, sexual perversion and other taboo subjects for a long time.
If you’re tired of slapstick comedy and like me, have a more brutal sense of humor, then dark comedy is for you! Comedy is a hard thing. Elements once considered funny has been used so many times it lost its shock value. Throwing pies, a kick in the nuts, getting sperm in your hair, etc. It just doesn’t do it for me anymore. But if you’re like me and can find humour in heavier subjects such as death, war, addiction, loss – then there are many unknown gems to pick from!
James Gunn is not a stranger to superheroes, but with Super he steps away from a universe comfort zone and into reality, where superpowers aren’t a thing but delusions certainly are. On the screen we see Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon, a quartet ready to take you on a wild ride.
Frank D’Arbo is a chubby nobody with little to show for, so it’s safe to say no one would mistake him for a superhero. But when his beautiful wife leaves him for a creepy drug-dealer things change, Frank is touched by god, or at least so he thinks. He transforms into the masked crime fighter Crimson Bolt, who with his pipe wrench and sidekick is ready to fight injustice and win back his wife’s love.
Super shows the brutality and madness that follows when someone slightly deranged becomes convinced they are invincible. Taking justice into his own hands isn’t easy, so expect blood flowing, jaws breaking and ambulances rushing as Crimson Bolt tries to save the innocent. This dark, brutal movie has you squirming, laughing and crying. An epic emotional rollercoaster.
The Art of Self-Defense (2019)
I feel like wherever I turn I see Jesse Eisenberg in weird indie movies, but him and Michael Cera are after all the same person so I guess it’s no wonder. The Art of Self Defense is the perfect dark comedy to see him in action.
Casey Davies is a gentle mannered man who spends most of his time hanging out with his sausage dog and learning french. But after being brutally assaulted by a gang of motorcyclists he enlists at a local dojo in an effort to learn how to defend himself. There he finds community and safety, led by a charismatic leader. But it doesn’t take long until Casey notices their strange sect-like behaviours.
A hilarious display of what macho-men high on their own testosterone can look like. The movie has some hits and misses, struggling to keep a balance between the absolute absurdity and realism, but all in all I found it to be an epic dark comedy.
Buffalo ’66 (1998)
Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ’66 became a universally recognized indie hit all around the world. With a background as a painter and artist, Gallo had a special interest in the colors and composition of the film, and together with cinematographer Lance Acord, they absolutely achieved an aesthetic film.
Billy’s just been released from prison and before making his way to his parents’ place he kidnaps Layla, who is forced to act as his wife. A desperate attempt to make it seem like he’s had a normal life these last years. Layla goes all in, trying to convince the parents, and perhaps end up convincing herself. A Stockholm Syndrome story at its finest!
A movie as dark as it is funny. A brutal, surreal movie that balances drama and comedy with absolute perfection. Gallo did just about everything in this movie, acting as both the main character, director, composer and writer. It’s truly a masterpiece, despite Gallo’s later misfirings.
Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
Wristcutters is a dark comedy that, despite its depiction of the afterlife, feels very down to earth. Director Goran Dukic doesn’t spend any time dwelling in pretentious life cliches, instead he keeps it very real, in a very surreal world.
When Desiree leaves Zia it renders him hopeless. Feeling like he has nothing left to live for, he tidies up his apartment, puts on a nice shirt, and slits his wrists. But life after death for a suicider is not a pleasant one. Instead of ending up in heaven, he is put in a world similar to that on earth, but much more depressing. A sky without stars, people without smiles. When Zia finds out that his beloved Desiree also committed suicide he sets out on the journey to find her in this bleak afterlife.
Wristcutters: A Love Story is a unique movie unlike any other movie I’ve seen. It paints a world of an afterlife where everyone is doing the best they can, but no one rests in peace. There’s not much of a tempo in the movie, but it really doesn’t matter because the story and the characters carry it throughout.
Director Sean Ellis is originally one of Englands most awarded fashion photographers, so it’s no surprise Cashback is a visually stunning movie. The movie is an absolute eye-candy, not for its many naked women, but for its beautiful cinematography.
Ben the art student suffers from insomnia after a brutal breakup with his ex. We’re not talking about some hours of twisting and turning in bed, but actual sleepless weeks. Suddenly he has an extra 12 hours to keep entertained. He desperately tries to keep busy, consuming book after book, but the memories of his ex still haunt him. In order to pass more time, Ben picks up the night shift in the local supermarket where he realizes that he can freeze time, something he uses to the universe’s greatest artwork: the woman’s body.
Cashback is a movie about reaching the surface after hitting rock bottom. It’s brilliant, stunning, and sometimes silly. There are some characters I could definitely do without, like the supermarket manager. If he wasn’t in it I’d doubtlessly rate it higher. However, it’s a movie well worth your time, if not for your mind, then for your eyes.
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