Review / ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ (M) no stars

the_volcanoBEFORE writing and directing “Eyjafjallajökull” (retitled “The Volcano” for Anglophone release), French filmmaker Alexandre Coffre had made two short films and one feature. He’s now working on “Father Christmas” for 2015 release. I’m feeling more cautious than optimistic.

Watching “Eyjafjallajökull” to the bitter end, with both principal characters being marched away in handcuffs, spouse and I exchanged whispered queries. Had it not been touted as a hilarious comedy? Why were we still waiting for the funny ha-ha bit? We were seeing listless contrivance labouring mightily to create crises where resolution led back to commencement.

The dramatic thesis of “Eyjafjallajökull” is a hybrid born to “The Wars of The Roses” (1989) a comedy analysing a toxic divorce, and “Planes Trains and Automobiles” (1987) in which two incompatible men share the task of getting home by Christmas in a major bad-weather event that has all but paralysed the US.

“Eyjafjallajökull” has quality forebears. But their progeny should have gone not to cinemas but the direct-to-DVD market which exists for ill-crafted material.

It comes down to understanding the difference between comedy and stupidity. Comedy is clever. Writing it requires special skill. Theatre history on stage and screen is full of wonderful comedy written with flair, panache, avoidance of cliché and above all, the wit to sidestep lethargic creation of situations insulting to the audience.

In contrast, writing lacking those virtues leads to stupid results which in turn insult its audience. That is unforgivable.

At Palace Electric

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