HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Burke and Hare Vile BodiesBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: John Landis
Stars: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, Tom Wilkinson, Ronnie Corbett, Hugh Bonneville, Tim Curry, David Schofield, David Hayman, Bill Bailey, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Allan Corduner, John Woodvine, Jenny Agutter, Christopher Lee
Genre: Comedy, Historical
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year was 1828, and Edinburgh was enjoying the Scottish Enlightenment, but for many of its citizens, they would be hard pressed to tell the difference with what had gone before. Nevertheless, there was progress being made, especially in the field of medicine where two rival medical schools, one run by Dr Knox (Tom Wilkinson) and the other by Dr Monroe (Tim Curry) staked claims for medical advancement. The main problem was that securing fresh corpses for experimentation was difficult, and Monroe had ensured that he would get most of them, so what was Knox to do?

Turn to those men who the title took its name from in this, a loose adaptation of the infamous case of the graverobbers turned murderers. For some reason, filmmakers found it hard to leave this sordid tale alone, and this Burke and Hare were the umpteenth version of their story, which might have had you wondering what screenwriters Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft could have possibly done to put a fresh spin on events. The answer to that was apparently to turn it into a British variety show, with just about every role filled by a familiar face from the United Kingdom entertainment scene, both old and new.

Appearing as the bad guys were Simon Pegg (as Burke) and Andy Serkis (as Hare), except according to this they may have killed sixteen people for profit, but actually they weren't all that bad. Indeed, here they were shown to be loveable rogues, two Irish scallywags just trying their best to get by in the harsh surroundings of nineteenth century Edinburgh, and far from the coldblooded, opportunistic murderers of history. It was not an entirely unique take on the men, but in this case the aim was to go all out for comedy and downplay the horror aspects that so many before it had emphasised, although there were a handful of gruesome moments, but nothing to get excited about.

You half expected the cast to break out into song, such was the lighthearted, even flippant approach they took to a grim yarn, as if they were finding it impossible to take any of this seriously. With a seasoned comedy director like John Landis at the helm, going for laughs was not such a bad gambit, and many of the performers were best known for their humorous antics both on television and on film, so for star spotters, the range of talent here was impressive. Ronnie Corbett showed up as the head lawman who uncovers the crime and played it surprisingly straightfaced, Jessica Hynes (Pegg's co-star in cult sitcom Spaced) was Hare's wife and outshining her colleagues, and there were the usual array of Landis cameos.

Michael Winner, for example, showed up long enough to be driven over a cliff in his carriage, and Christopher Lee looks to be getting set for a meaty role only to be bumped off within about a minute of appearing. There were tries at excusing the sympathetic treatment of the murderers by comparing them to Shakespeare's Macbeth, mostly in a subplot about Burke's lady friend Ginny taking his money to put on a women only production of the play. Isla Fisher's usual comic touch eluded her here, mainly because of her obvious struggle with the Scottish accent, which was odd because her parents were from there, but for a film that stressed its Caledonian roots there were not that many actors from that part of the U.K. in it (and putting The Proclaimers over the end credits was fooling no one). There were a few good laughs, but the feeling never left it that to make this more satisfying a darker style was really needed; nice try, but too silly to be top notch. Music by Joby Talbot.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3350 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Landis  (1950 - )

American writer-director who made a big splash in the comedy genre, starting with The Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House and The Blues Brothers. An American Werewolf in London was an innovative blend of comedy and horror, and remains his best film.

Mega-hit Trading Places followed, but after a tragic accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie, Landis' talent seemed to desert him, and he offered up some increasingly unimpressive comedies. He returned briefly to horror with Innocent Blood, and after a long spell away helmed Brit comedy Burke and Hare; he also directed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Black or White" videos.

 
Review Comments (2)
Posted by:
Jason Cook
Date:
23 Feb 2011
  A truly woeful cinematic experience. Despite the film being peppered with well known British comedy stars it is totally devoid of comic timing. A completely pointless movie.
       
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
23 Feb 2011
  I dunno, I found it hard to totally dislike, it was like a feature length TV revue show from the seventies with updated talent.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: