Previously at the ICA - Films
11 Oct 2015
BFI London Film Festival: 238 films. From 71 countries. 16 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
An ageing, dyspeptic comedian (actor Gregg Turkington, tapping into his caustic stand-up alter-ego Neil Hamburger) brays and flop-sweats his way through a tour of deadbeat, desolate southern US venues. As audiences dwindle and the comedian’s shock-jock routine transforms into an all-out assault, his encounters with disquieting eccentrics and increasingly forlorn phone calls to an unseen daughter feed into his self-loathing descent towards oblivion.
Rick Alverson’s uncompromising feature might be seen as anti-comedy—it takes jet-black as the brightest hue on its comic spectrum before pitching into something even darker—but as fearless, hallucinatory filmmaking this is 100% cinema. Alverson is clearly challenging notions of ‘good taste’; but for anyone who can stomach a bitter antidote to indie-movie platitudes and an autopsy on the soul-corroding vacuity of modern comedy and western culture: that’s Entertainment.
(Notes by Leigh Singer)
Entertainment, dir. Rick Alverson, USA 2015, 110 mins.