The Comedian Movie Review
There's some interesting material in this dark British drama, but it's so relentlessly grim that we are never able to connect with anyone on-screen. It doesn't help that all of the characters are pretty unlikeable. And the improvised story itself feels oddly bleak and aimless. Honestly, for a movie called The Comedian, you'd think there would be a few laughs.
The title character is Ed (Hogg), an insurance salesman who is trying to get his stand-up career up and running. But his abrasive routines leave audiences cold. Then he discovers that he has at least one fan, Nathan (Stewart-Jarrett), and they begin a slow-burning romance that's complicated by the fact that Ed is also attracted to his flatmate Elisa (Lasowski). Or maybe it's just that he wants everyone to love him. Which isn't likely to happen since he's such a grump. And as his life spirals into darkness, he refuses the help of the few people left who care about him.
Yes, it's pretty difficult to engage with a central character who's such a moody idiot. Even when he's the life of the party, he lashes out with insults and aggressively wallows in self-pity. Hogg has proved before how adept he is at this kind of abrasively internalised performance (see White Lightnin' if you dare), and he skilfully lets us see glimpses of the fragile man inside. By contrast, Stewart-Jarrett is kind and charming, while Lasowski adds an earthy tenderness in the way she reacts to Ed's behaviour.
But there's nothing pleasant about this film. Ed's problems are all of his own making, so we feel like he deserves what he gets. There are a few moments of warmth along the way, including brief scenes of sexy interaction with Nathan. And there's a chilling scene on a night bus that jolts us with its raw intensity. But the only person Ed properly speaks to is a random taxi driver. So the movie ends up feeling meandering, dull and packed with indulgent filmmaking touches. The talent on-screen makes it watchable, but we struggle to see the point.