by Ben Mapletoft, Student at Chesterfield College
Two Irish down-and-outs, Burke (Simon Pegg) and Hare (Andy Serkis), in 19th century Edinburgh suddenly find a new way of making money in the business of supplying bodies to the city’s medical school.
Along the way, they have to avoid the detection of the militia as well as satisfy the needs of Dr. Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson), Hare's wife Lucky (Jessica Hynes) and Burke's love interest and aspiring actress, Emma (Georgia King).
The film itself is nothing less than the definition of a black comedy. Grave-robbing, murder, grizzly dissections and a splattering of British acting talent make it clear this is going to be a gruesome laugh fest.
The 'gruesome' part is certainly true. Congratulations really have to go to the film's set and costume design which help to really create the grim atmosphere of 1800s Edinburgh. Anyone who has ever visited the city will notice nothing has changed in nearly two hundred years...
The humour of Burke and Hare is typical of a lot of sarcastic, dark British comedies. This isn’t a 'laugh-a-minute' film but rather a 'snigger at some of the 1800s pop culture references that are slipped in' or 'a belly laugh at how the ghastly acts are carried out in a suitably farcical manner' feature.
Some of the subtler one-liners were missed by some of the audiences, either due to lack of education in Scottish folklore (like the reference to Greyfriar's Bobby, a popular Edinburgh tale) or the fact that they were too busy trying to plough through the thick Scottish and Irish accents to actually here what they characters were saying.
I felt the cast were often bogged down by the accent issue, which only veteran actors (of which they are plenty) seemed to cope with. Pegg certainly seems to be too busy trying to keep up with his dialect rather than delivering a hilarious performance as he did in another bloody comedy film.
Speaking of veteran actors, you'll find yourself concentrating less on the story and comedy of the film but instead be keeping an eye out for any famous faces you recognise.
Burke and Hare is just as good a comedy film as it is a setting for 'I Spy'.
All in all, Burke and Hare is a hell of a lot of gory fun and is a set to be a standard in British comedy pictures. Don't expect anything to make your sides ache or to be grossed out though.
A solid enjoyable experience for you and your mates on a Saturday night.
3 out of 5 'Spires'
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