Will Preston

More cameos then you can shake a stiff at!

by on Nov.16, 2010, under Films, Review

Was it because Simon Pegg is in this film that made me rush out and see it. Well not quite rush, but it was either that or Red and me and my girlfriend were in a very indecisive mood. And Red was twenty minutes longer. One of the first things that got my attention to this film was the abundance of Scottish accents. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something pleasing to the ear about it. Don’t look at me like I’m weird.

In a time when Brown was fashionable

The second thing that got my attention was the amount of unexpected cameos popping up like welcome acne. But we’ll go through the cameos as we go along. It’s a black comedy based on the real life Nineteenth century grave robbers/murderers from Edinburgh, a bit of an odd topic for a comedy, but I do like my comedy‚Äôs to have some edge to them. The first person to pop up is comedian Bill Bailey setting the scene shortly before hanging someone. He’s the executioner by the way, not some random murderer.

Then we’re introduced to the titular characters (played by Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis), two Northern Irish con artists who are struggling to get by. It’s a typical underdog set up. Playing Hare’s alcoholic wife is Jessica Hynes (Daisy from Spaced) who was a very welcome face to see. They run a rented house where there are a couple of elderly men staying upstairs, one of which passes on minutes into the film. With no where to dump the body, Hare hears about the financial benefits of handing over stiffs to medical science. Dr. Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson playing the films other real life character) is only too keen to take the recently departed man from them, leading Hare to talk him into a corpse for cash deal. Tim Curry pops up as Knox’s rival Dr Monroe who didn’t keep a consistent Scottish accent in places. But we’ll forgive him.

Ronnie Corbett holds off mob shocker!

The film goes through the montage of Burke and Hare trying to find the nearly dead before giving up and going into serial killing. It’s almost like a funny metaphor for drug addiction. A side story involves Isla Fisher as a feisty actress of whom Burke takes a fancy, but this goes along rather predictably and doesn’t really need much more said about it. Apart from the fact that Burke is revealed to be a virgin. I’ll try not to give you any more spoilers.

Along the way the following people pop up without warning: Sir Christopher Lee playing a war veteran, Ronnie Corbett as a military captain, as well as quick cameos from Reece Shearsmith, Paul Whitehouse and Michael Winner. On hindsight, I think I spent more time being entertained by the the cameos than the jokes. Not that the jokes were bad of course. There were plenty of laughs to be had. Some of them were a little obvious, though.

And since it’s on the subject of murder and body snatching, there are some pretty gruesome scenes. An amputation scene with Tim Curry brandishing a bone saw had a certain Mel Brooks quality to it, and some of the corpse scenes put me off my cinema nachos. The film’s end was a bit of a shock, but in a feel good way, leaving a feeling of harmony. But as I said, I won’t spoil it for you. One to rent, even if it’s just to see Michael Winner fall off a cliff.

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