Dir. Mitch Jenkins
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
The plot of THE SHOW reads like one of Alan Moore's blurbs and could easily fit amongst his previous works of Watchmen and Captain Britain;
A frighteningly focussed man of many talents, passports, and identities, arrives in Northampton - a strange and haunted town in the heart of England, as dangerous as he is. On a mission to locate a stolen artefact for his menacing client, Fletcher finds himself entangled in a twilight world populated with vampires, sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, noir private eyes, and masked avengers. He quickly sinks into a bizarre and delirious black hole, that is hidden just beneath the surface of this seemingly quiet town. Soon enough Fletcher discovers that dreams and reality have been blurred and there might no longer be a real world to go back to - Welcome to The Show.
THE SHOW is pure bonkers, the film feels like a real life characture, one that takes itself seriously as a piece of crime noir fantasy. Each contact has a striking appearance and their own unique characteristics magnified under Alan Moore's direction. This feels more comic book than any of the Marvel/DC films currently running the cinemas and for the most part it works. The script is taken straight from the page and in turn takes away from any connection to reality before the film even turns away from the real world.
Tom Burke is charismatic throughout. His strange straightness in a world so comedic and alien as the Northampton on screen, is both magnetic and bewildering yet grounds an otherwise otherworldly experience. With a madcap bunch of weird and wonderful, there are a few standouts including a stroke of comedy genius in Babou Ceesay.
The comedy often hits the spot in a way similar to UTOPIA (the British version) in it's darkness and dry nature but doesn't quite gel with the detective mystery at the centre of THE SHOW. When the film showcases it's dreamscapes, everything that came before feels like a normal day in the street and with some of the unique characters in play, that is saying something. But that is it, they have a strange continuity with the story yet feel abstract from the detective work at play, furthermore a superhero spying on them with no consequence is frankly just filling up airtime in a film that already feels quite long.
THE SHOW is batshit crazy and that is a topsy turvy statement. Fans of Moore will absolutely love this but newcomers can easily walk away. The fantasy elements mixed with a bizarre world where detectives are paid in energy drinks and speak their inner monologues out loud is disturbingly abstract from any grounding in reality the film tries to perceive. It's a marmite film but those looking for something different can certainly count on THE SHOW.