Friday, August 1, 2014

The King of Comedy (1982)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer:    Paul D. Zimmerman
Cast:       Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott

Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin wants to achieve success in show biz by stalking his idol, a late night talk show host who craves his own privacy.

I was aware that it was not really a straight up comedy film even though the title might suggest otherwise. The first half of film is really creepy and is almost in the mold of a horror film while the second half reminded me of Dog Day afternoon. It is a black comedy on the celebrity culture and stalking associated with it. We are never made to sympathize with the Pupkin character but still we wish nothing bad happens to him at the end. I was really wishing that it was not based on any real life event and was glad to find it wasn't. That makes it even more brilliant because that is exactly how it would have panned out in real life with him also becoming a celebrity and probably ending up in fucking Big Brother. 

In the film there are plenty of sequences where we are being shown what is happening inside Pupkin's head and it could be argued that the entire last act was just him imagining things after his meeting with the talk show host turn out to be futile. I might have to see it again to check if the director is alluding to it but Scorsese himself told he was influenced by Michael Powell's film where the fantasy sequences are not differentiated from reality. Scorsese plants this idea on our minds by making the fantasy sequences very obvious in the first half hour of the film. 

The film is a great watch and I guess the best from Scorsese in the 80s from what I have seen (After Hours, Last Temptation of Christ & Color of Money). Fuck I haven't still seen Raging Bull in full. 

Rating: 5/5