For some people, a good comedy needs nothing more than some silly costumes, catchphrases and a couple of well-aimed custard pies. But for others, this barely even tickles the funnybone. What they need is a little edgier, a little more risqué. And so they turn to the dark side of comedy, the type of film where you don't know whether to laugh or cry. The type of film that you know you probably shouldn't be watching. The type of film that'll make you smile and then, almost immediately, make you feel guilty about it. It seems like an easy task - take subjects that we're not supposed to talk about and make jokes about them- and yet very few manage to find the right balance between proper comedy and needless provocation. Too often they revel in their own filth, swap sight gags for shock tactics, punchlines for poor taste. When done correctly, the dark comedy should challenge, trouble and even offend you. It should also, however, make you pee your pants. Below are ten films that despite (or rather, due to) tackling difficult subject matter, squeeze their laughs from the least likely sources... Contains spoilers
10. Chopper (2000)
It's never easy to ask an audience to empathise with a killer, and especially difficult when they're based on a real life career criminal. And yet, for his directorial debut, Andrew Dominik adapted the autobiographical works of Mark ''Chopper'' Read to bring a riveting character study packed full of violence and edgy, uncomfortable humour. In an incredible, breakthrough role (and at the suggestion of the man himself, no less) Eric Bana plays Read not so much as the villain of the piece but more as a charming rogue, albeit one with a hair-trigger temper. As a result, the film has been accused of glorifying Chopper, making him the main attraction of Pentridge Prison. Certainly, the early scenes in which he brawls and bickers with his fellow inmates convicts do have a persuasive sort of swagger but when this aggression spills out into his domestic life, seeing the funny side becomes something of a struggle. Darkest Comedy Moment: When Chopper is stabbed repeatedly in the stomach by Jimmy, own of his gang members, he seems more concerned about his friend than his own health. As the blood dribbles from his mouth, he looks at Jimmy and asks, softly ''What's got into you?'' He then hugs Jimmy, who has now burst into tears and cannot apologise enough. ''It's alright'', replies Chopper, clearly not letting the gaping wounds get the better of him,''Always give credit where credit is due, Jimmy. I'll give ya top marks for treachery, mate.''
Yorkshireman (hence the surname). Often spotted sacrificing sleep and sanity for the annual Leeds International Film Festival. For a sample of (fairly) recent film reviews, please visit whatsnottoblog.wordpress.com.