What’s the Story?
It’s Edinburgh in the 18th century, and someone has just passed a law requiring all criminals’ corpses to be given to Doctcor Monro so he can use them as cadavers to teach the next generation of doctors. Two Irishmen conmen – Burke and Hare – discover that due to the lack of supply, Doctor Knox is willing to pay far more than the going rate for any corpses they may come across. Seeing a new business opportunity, Burke and Hare begin creating corpses.
What’s the Problem?
This sounds nit-picky (not that every critique on this site isn’t), but I can’t look at Andy Serkis‘s face without seeing Gollum. Except rather than just Gollum, it looks like Gollum has found a human face and is wearing it like a mask. That somewhat ruins the film for me, but it’s not a problem that the filmmakers could do anything about. Other than make Andy Serkis CGI again. But that would just be reaching new depths of cruelty for the poor guy.
The characters are superficial. Sure, this is essentially a Buddy Movie in 18th century Scotland (awesome idea, by the way), but we never learn that much about Burke or Hare. One of them is married, the other wants to bang Isla Fisher. That’s about as much characteristics as we get. We never learn why they started being conmen, or why they left Ireland, or really any personal details. Andy Serkis’s character is okay with killing for money; Simon Pegg‘s character is not. That’s about all we’re given.
Apart from that there isn’t too much wrong with this film. It’s not a rehashed old storyline, the characters are decent if superficial, and it’s an excellent film for playing “Spot the English Actor” (they’re all there…) or even “Pick the accent” (I couldn’t get Andy Serkis’s). But it’s… I don’t know… not that funny.
Wait for DVD, at least. It’s not laugh-out-loud that often, and there’s not enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat but it’s entertaining in its way.