Burn in Purgatory
When Martin (Burn Gorman) was killed having been hit by a car he found himself in purgatory, a dull office block on the side of town where they help the recently departed on their journey up. For Martin that means becoming a carer, guiding the recently departed through the form filling and counselling sessions all the time hoping his work will see himself being rewarded with moving up. But after getting saddled with a partner who is his complete opposite they end up on a mission to a seaside town when they lose one of their new arrivals.
I've got to give Zam Salim credit as he has written and directed a movie which whilst in some ways familiar is also fresh and is surprisingly busy. Here we have this amusing look at the afterlife where the dead walk the planet helping those who have just passed over. But it isn't a case of giving them the usual second stab at life as instead the humour is very much on life in purgatory from the form filling to dealing with others who are dead and haven't moved up. And it is all surprisingly creative and comical in a dry, matter of fact sort of way.
Much of what works about the comedy comes down to Burn Gorman who has these Chaplin-esque eyes and a straight face which makes his facial expressions and dry delivery priceless. It is Gorman's ability to do dry which continually makes you smile but then he is surrounded by a variety of quirkier characters all of which bring their own style of comedy to things with Aymen Hamdouchi doing a nice turn in cheeky chappy style comedy which counters Gorman's dry deliver.
The thing about "Up There" is that whilst Salim has written an entertaining black comedy which behind the comedy has a surprisingly touching side it needed something else. There comes a point, about 20 minutes in where it has fully established itself from character types to comedy and from then on you know what you are getting. Even when we meet new characters you know what to expect and for me I just needed something more, something different to be added to the mix to stop it feeling like it was running out of ideas.
What this all boils down to is that "Up There" is much better than I was expecting and truth be told I hadn't been expecting much. But whilst amusing end enjoyable in a black comedy sort of way, it does get to point where it feels like it is running out of ideas.