Sundance Review: Entertainment


Director:Rick Alverson

Cast:Tye Sheridan, John C Reilly, Gregg Turkington

Running Time:110 Minutes


"Though I'd rather hear you cheer, when I delve into Shakespeare, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! I haven't had a winner in 6 months. And though I'm no Olivier, if he fought Sugar Ray, he would say"”that the thing ain't the ring, it's the play. So give me a stage, where this bull here can rage, and though I can fight, I'd much rather recite. That's Entertainment. That's Entertainment."-  Jake LaMotta

With the film Entertainment, director Rick Alverson, brings his second straight film to Sundance after his cult hit film The Comedy premiered at the festival back in 2012. Entertainment is a methodical journey into darkness.  The best way to describe it, is as a surrealist nightmare. It is a film that delves into the mind and madness of a lonely, delusional comedian (Gregg Turkington), who is on his way to meet up with his estranged daughter, who may or may not be alive. Alverson is a master of tones and mood, he is best described as a cross between David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn and definite a director on the rise.

With this film, Alverson gives us his version of Raging Bull, but in the form of a man simply known as The Comedian. Although this comedian is no Jake LaMotta, he is also fighting his own demons while trying to reclaim his past glory by playing a long string of dead-end shows in armpits of America, which include jails, bars, and deserted junkyards. He does all this, while battling loneliness, depression and anger---and sometimes all at once. The Comedian plays shows around barren wastelands that are as empty as his soul and often reflect his mood. Although isolated he is not completely alone, he is accompanied on tour by a young comedian named Eddie (Tye Sheridan), who mimes his way for laughter, a more subtle approach than Turkington's character, who explodes with rage during his act, sometimes on his unsuspecting audience members.

The character "The Comedian" is actually a variation of Turkington's most famous character, Neil Hamburger. Hamburger is as an abrasive loner that is a blend between Gilbert Gottfried and Droopy the dog with a comb over that would make Donald Trump jealous.  He is a modern day sex symbol for sure---just joking folks.


About Matt Kerwin

Matt Kerwin

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