you're reading...
Comedy - Black

Burke and Hare (2010)

Duration1h 31m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, South Korea: 18 
Source of storyA version of the lives of the real Edinburgh criminals Burke and Hare
DirectorJohn Landis
Writers/ScriptPiers Ashworth, Nick Moorcroft, 
StarringBill Bailey, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Jessica Hynes, David Hayman, Christopher Lee, Ronnie Corbett, Reece Shearsmith, Isla Fisher, Hugh Bonneville, Ray Harryhausen, Paul Whitehouse, Michael Winner, Jenny Agutter, Stephen Merchant, John Woodvine,
RatingsIMDb: 6.2 by 20,069 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 33% by 58 reviewers. Review2view: 6/10.

Elevator Pitch: Burke and Hare are a couple of Northern Irish villains who hit on the opportunity of selling corpses to the medical profession for vivisection, in early 19th century in Edinburgh. Once they have sold a couple of bodies of people who have died in the lodging house run by Hare’s wife they try grave robbing but are unsuccessful and so have to start murdering the low life of the city. Burke falls in love with a former prostitute with ambitions to become an actress and uses his ill gotten gains to support her efforts. But their crimes have not gone unnoticed; they are pursued by the Edinburgh militia and threatened by the established crime lords of the town. How can it all end?

Content:  There is no nudity but some enthusiastic sex and quite a bit of drinking and pipe smoking. Most scenes in the grimy underbelly of Edinburgh, much centred on the Grass Market where things are bought and sold, and hangings take place. The theatrical vivisections carried out by Dr Monro feature quite a bit. Hare’s wife is usually drunk. Once they have money they go to a higher class drinking establishment where Burke meets Ginny and they gradually move towards sex, and Ginny gets to perform in an all woman version of the Scottish Play.

A View: I read that John Landis intended to make the film in the image of the classic Ealing comedies and in this he probably succeeded. But despite the large number of well known British actors, some of whom had performed in previous Landis films, it was never really going to make money. It was little more than a collection of not really funny sketches, finally ending in something of a tragedy. Somehow unsatisfying. Maybe you could have it on while doing your knitting.

John Landis films reviewed on this site which you might like better include The Blues Brothers, Coming to America and Trading Places. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: