There are few genres in film that can compare to a well-executed dark comedy. What makes them so unique is their ability to embrace our duplicitous nature as human beings, showcasing just enough contempt to make the story resonate and just enough sensibility to justify amusement over another’s misfortune. Maintaining that balance for the duration of a narrative isn’t easy, and in the absolute worst-case scenario, a film of this nature will fail to portray the most innately wicked aspects of our conscience in a way that is funny, and yet still palatable.
Applesauce, from filmmaker Onur Tukel, takes place in Brooklyn, and begins by chronicling what seems to be a charming friendship between two married couples. Sparked by a radio talk-show host’s weekly Tell-All Tuesday program, the characters begin to share the details of their most shameful transgressions, which then snowball into abhorrent acts of revenge, all surpassing their original confessions. The progression of the plot hinges on Ron, played by Tukel, whose self-important divulgence has resulted in a disturbing form of harassment. Ron begins to discover severed body parts, turning up in his belongings and in his food, the incidences become so consuming that he ultimately fails to realize that his marriage is crumbling around him.
Essentially, the characters in this film are downright unlikeable and, without adhering to the basic fundamentals of a decent dark comedy, they aren’t even fun to hate. Every creative tool utilized quickly becomes predictable, and even its effort to be ironic seems contrived and tedious. Despite the film’s lackluster turnout, the actors are talented, with a natural and somewhat cavalier approach to their performances that has become more appealing to audiences of recent years. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to designate this film as a noteworthy presence at this year’s festival.
Applesauce is currently playing in select theaters.
Watch the trailer for Applesauce here: