Fantasia 2012: ‘Black Pond’ shines the spotlight on dark humour
Directed by Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe
Written by Will Sharpe
Comedy, in its nature and its presentation, has morphed dramatically over the past decade or so, both in North America and in Europe, in particular the United Kingdom. From the more overt, on the nose comedy of yesteryear we have now live in an era in which the comedy is delivered with a completely different version of wit. Jokes can be extremely situational or rely on dialogue delivered in manners which presume to be subtle but at the same are not really subtle at all. Even the stories which writers and directors have shared in the past few years have experienced with new framing devices. Oftentimes the films and television shows present them in a way so as to replicate the documentary style, hence the stories carry a degree of believability all the while the characters within them embrace their eccentricities. Black Pond, from the directing duo of Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe, adapts this very technique.
The film depicts the story of one family, the Thompson family, at two very different stages in its life. There are faux interviews with the father, Tom (Chris Langham), the mother Sophie (Amanda Hadingue), the the two daughters Katie and Jess (Anna O’Grady and Helen Cripps respectively) and their common friend, Tim Tanaka (co-director Will Sharpe) after a trying episode in their collective lives when the group as a whole was accused of murdering a kind, if emotionally volatile and slightly disconnected man, Blake (Colin Hurley) in the Black Pond region. Inter-cut between the brief interview snippets is the depiction of how the family came to meet Blake, how they came to love him, and, finally, what exactly led to his demise one very strange night. Clearly, the Thompson’s were not the happiest family, with the daughters living away together in the city, uninterested in the increasingly strained relationship between their parents. Tim, in fact, visited a hack psychologist (Simon Amstell) for a while to relieve himself of some murky emotional turmoil, although the self-described professional only scoffs at Tim’s internal battle. Despite these qualms, the inimitable Blake did bring them all together again for a short while…