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|Index||13 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Suffering Man's Charity is set in Los Angeles where the slightly
demented music teacher John Vandermark (director Alan Cumming) lives in
a big house left to him by his mother, a young struggling writer named
Sebastian (David Borneanaz) also lives there after John had taken pity
on him. However Sebastian is taking liberties with John's kind
hospitality running up large phone bills & never paying a penny for
anything, John has had enough of Sebastian & his leeching & decides to
confront him. Things turn nasty & after John completely loses it
Sebastian ends up dead, wanting to get something back from Sebastian
John passes his novel off as his own & strikes a lucrative book deal
with a New York publisher but the ghost of Sebastian starts to haunt
More commonly known under the title Ghost Writer this was directed by & staring British comedian & actor Alan Cumming this is a really strange one that I don't quite know how to sum up or even comment on, for me it's a complete turkey but I guess there might be an audience out there for it somewhere. To be honest I don't get Suffering Man's Charity at all, by that I mean I understand the plot & what happens but I don't understand it thematically or who it would or is meant to appeal too. According to the IMDb this is a horror comedy but I am struggling to think of a single funny moment during the thing & as for being a horror film there's a small subplot about a ghost but nothing else as far as I could see. I really don't know how to describe this film or what genre to assign it. To my eyes the whole thing feels like it is supposed to be a dark comedy but as I said it's not funny at all & while it's definitely different, quirky & off-beat that doesn't mean it's any good which I don't think it is. Overall Suffering Man's Charity didn't do anything for me & while there might be a small audience out there for it I can't see it appalling to the common person at all.
This is well shot & looks decent enough but not much more, there's nothing scary or atmospheric here & no real horror. There's a gay kiss thing going on at the end which is slightly disturbing as it comes out of nowhere but overall this is pretty forgettable stuff.
With a supposed budget of about $3,000,000 this was shot in Los Angeles & is well made. The actors play everything over the top with a bizarre performance from Cumming while Borneanaz gets to dress up in a bra & Panties with Carrie Fisher & Anne Heche in small cameo roles.
Suffering Man's Charity is a strange film that almost defies description & is hard to categorize, personally I didn't like it at all & just didn't get what the makers were aiming for. Not my type of film at all & I doubt it would appeal to the majority.
This film needed some combination of the following : a separate
director that was NOT starring in the film, sympathetic characters,
multi-dimensional characters, less overacting, a bigger budget, more
people involved in the creation, and/or FILM source with good image
quality. Any of the listed items could be overcome in different
circumstances, but here they are all piled on.
I appreciate that the main character was meant to be someone who acts out his own life in overblown, dramatic excess. I appreciate that this character is intentionally not a likable person. Such things are valid and interesting choices to try, but they are challenges that require a LOT of feedback and careful planning to make a film that works. That seemed absent.
Instead, what we have here is a piece which leaves the impression that the actor (and director), Alan Cumming, does not know how to tone it down.
We only see one side of each character, and none seem to progress or change in any meaningful way. And no, changing address or circumstance does not count -- the characters never seem to learn anything.
All the audience gets is nasty people who never get better as they do things we can not care much about, and doing them in a somewhat absurdist way. Yes, there are some amusing scenarios, but all the negatives overwhelm occasional positives.
There is only one reason to see this film - David BOREANAZ! The plot seems typically reasonable, but writing or directing over the top should not impede a good play or movie. There is no need to act as though everyone is without morals or merit. A well-executed comedy should be able to reach everyone without using one expletive word. Seinfeld's comedy was always outrageous, but within the acceptable guidelines, and this is the kind of comedic writing that many new artists never understand. Without vulgarity or graphic violence, most writers have no idea how to entertain people anymore. David is always wonderful in whatever he does. He has timing, looks, charm, and savoir faire. Cummings, go back to Creative writing class 101 and this time, pay attention.
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