Saturday, November 17, 2007


One of my favourite comedy scenes is in the film version of Porridge. It involves Fletcher's exploitation of the naivity of the new warden and the theft of most of his bicycle in the kitchen. It is perfectly set up with all the ingredients introduced in an understated way (helped by the lack of any background music or laughter) during the build up and executed with an almost off-hand casualness by the cast: Fletcher's muttered "Shame" when McKay enters the room, Godber's backing away before the curry powder is poured and then quietly sinking McKay's hat with the ladle. It's like comedy unplugged, the viewer is drawn into intimacy with the situation and the characters like they are really there and it becomes funny because it is 'real'. You had to be there and you were.

blade runner is such a unique and impressive film because it represents the points at which the careers of those involved took off. harrison ford took the disgruntled maverick from starwars and added a depth and soul which turned a cartoon character into something far more interesting. ridley scott took the foreboding and suspense (not to mention lack of light) from alien and applied it with more subtlety and used the sci-fi hardware as backdrop to a human story without letting it overwhelm the personalities. rutger hauer is a scene stealer merely by his appearance but pulling off the tormented psychopath searching for and destroying his creator is a heroic feat requiring supreme confidence to avoid becoming a hackneyed frankenstein monster. Even the haunting music by vangelis is exceptional. the storyline deals with huge issues of what it is to be human which are usually delivered by captain kirk with full orchestra but somehow it is still cool - has become cult - and injects humour just when it is in danger of getting too introspective.


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