Finding comedy in odd places

LAUGH OUT LOUD: A scene from The Intouchables (above) and Seven Psychopaths (below).
LAUGH OUT LOUD: A scene from The Intouchables (above) and Seven Psychopaths (below).

Title: The Intouchables

Director: Oliver Nakache & Eric Toledano

Rated: M

The Intouchables was enormously popular on its release in France, and has proved to be hugely appealing around the world. Based on a true story, it is an inspiring movie which finds considerable comedy in a tragic situation. This is the fourth feature by the team of French writer/directors Takache and Toledano.

Philippe (Francois Cluzet), a millionaire paralysed from the neck down by a para-gliding accident, engages Driss (Omar Sy) as his carer. Driss is a Senegalese man on parole following his involvement in a robbery. The sedate and closeted lifestyle of the quadriplegic is immediately and joyfully upended by the madcap Driss who guides him back out into the world, smoking pot and getting into rock and roll.

This is not just a funny and poignant story. There are a lot of laughs in this movie, and the two leads give fantastic performances. There are not many subtleties in the screenplay, but it is well written. It certainly does take a few digs at the 'high culture' of art and music, and Driss features some wonderful dancing to Earth Wind and Fire.

The Intouchables is a most entertaining, feel-good, odd couple movie.

The Intouchables is currently screening at Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinemas, Lismore.

Title: Seven Psychopaths

Director: Martin McDonagh

Rated: MA15+

This is a wickedly funny black comedy by Irish writer/

director Martin McDonagh, his second feature following the excellent In Bruges. While the movie appears to give a big 'pulp fiction' nod to Tarantino films, it is also a movie about movies. There are several stories within the story; in many ways it is a silly, violent, comic crime thriller, but the story also comments on violence in films, and it certainly takes a satirical swipe at Hollywood violence.

Marty (Colin Farrell) is an alcoholic screenwriter in L.A. suffering from writers block. He has the title for a new film, Seven Psychopaths, but that's all. His eager friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is running a scam with Hans (Christopher Walken) stealing dogs and returning them for the reward. But things turn nasty when the pair kidnap the beloved Shih Tzu of ruthless gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson).

The film has a great plot with a number of layers and twists. There are two wonderful cameos by Harry Dean Stanton and especially Tom Waits, while all the leads are in brilliant form. But the savagely funny screenplay is the real essence here.

Seven Psychopaths is currently screening at Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinemas, Lismore.

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