Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The King of Comedy is easily one of Martin Scorsese's best films, and easily one of his least seen. It's a film that was ahead of its time; a film that took on the psychological derangement of celebrity-obsessed individuals with a sharp eye for black comedy and social satire. Robert De Niro's performance is nothing less than a tour de force. Playing, yet again, a total nut-job, his Rupert Pupkin (commonly misspelled and mispronounced) is a frightening creation. The screenplay, by film-critic-at-the-time Paul Zimmerman, is layered but at the same time very streamlined, and very economical. And just wait until you see Jerry Lewis -- his performance basically consists of reaction shots and his silent expressions speak more than any words could ever do. I haven't even touched upon the story! De Niro is a wannabe comedian (and gentle psychotic) who in a fit of rage and desperation kidnaps a Johnny Carson-esque TV personality, played by Lewis. Sandra Bernhard is De Niro's accomplice. This is a fascinating, hysterical, dark, and completely perfect little masterpiece that Scorsese unleashed right after the opus that is Raging Bull. His next film after The King of Comedy would be After Hours, another film I'll be re-visiting soon. It's been ages since I've seen that one.


Joel said...

I might just need to seek this out. Thanks, Nick!

Actionman said...

Definitely seek it out. It's hysterical. And sad. And totally fucked in the head.