London Film Festival 2012 – day one: The Comedian
Monday 15th October, 9pm – Vue Leicester square
Wednesday 17th October, 9pm – Rich mix
The new categories for the 56th BFI London Film Festival promise a more “focused” look into the 200 or so films that are to be showcased over the next coming weeks. The first to be shown to press and industry delegates (ahead of its official opening on Wednesday 12th) is the conservatively titled The Comedian.
Placed in the First Feature competition category, it is the platform for directors to release their debut on the biggest stage possible. Directed and penned by Tom Shkolnik, The Comedian follows 30-something Ed (Ed Hogg) as he attempts to find his place in the world. Comedy isn’t really working for him and his tedious job in a call centre is going nowhere fast. The confusion surrounding his career begins to emulate to his sexuality after an encounter with artist Nathan (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) leads to a relationship that Ed may not be quite ready for. Furthermore, his flatmate and best friend Elisa (Elisa Lasowski) is quickly falling in love with him…
What gives this film its undeniable poignancy is the stark realism portrayed by each of the main three characters. This was undoubtedly reached through how the film’s narrative was originally developed. Workshops on each scene and improvised dialogue allowed the actors a degree of flexibility that really works. Both leads, Hogg and Stewart-Jarrett, are regulars on the small screen with Hogg being seen in Doctors, Misfits and Silent Witness and Nathan being best known for his regular role in Misfits.
Much of the humour is drawn from the improvised nature of the script and Hogg is naturally funny as he banters with his telesales boss and flatmate Elisa. It is Nathan’s first feature film after his role in Misfits and he positively shines as the shy, arty student. It is also clear to see that Shkolnik doesn’t hold anything back with his creative use of the camera, illustrating London as the dark, dank city that it is.
The only negatives come from the director’s inexperience with some scenes maybe hanging on for too long, but overlooking this, The Comedian turns out to be a bold and emotionally sincere bit of film-making which puts Shkolnik firmly on the map.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.