5 Dark Comedies Every Filmmaker Should Watch

Since the early days of cinema, people have always had a particular amusement with laughing at a film. Whether this laughter was intentional or not, we can all agree about the essential nature of laughter and the positive effects it has on someone’s well-being. Like any other film genre, there are plenty of sub-genres to take a closer look at that are worthwhile from a filmmaking perspective.

With this in mind, dark comedies, otherwise known as dramedies, are comedies that typically aren’t light-hearted films but focus on more pressing subject matter with a humorous overtone. Many of the films that fall under the dark comedy spectrum find themselves under the rated R category as they deal with such serious storylines.

Regardless of your infatuation with dark comedies or not, it’s always a good idea to take a close look at various genres, especially with a genre that’s so hard to do. Basically, taking something as severe as murder, drugs, crime, or something more severe while making humor out of it is a challenging task to begin with. Nevertheless, here are five dark comedies every filmmaker should watch:

Fargo (1996)

As far as perfecting the dark comedy genre, no one is quite as good as the Coen brothers. Joel and Ethan Coen have been a brother duo in the film industry since the 1980s, with one of their most notable works being Fargo, a story based in Fargo, North Dakota, about a car salesman who stages the kidnapping of his wife in order to finesse money from his wealthy Father-In-Law.

It’s an immaculate, dark, and compelling tale that details everything there is to love about dark comedies. It features some of the most intriguing characters, with Frances McDormand giving a performance of a lifetime while being beautifully shot and executed by the Coen brothers.

In Bruges (2008)

For a slightly newer film, we have In Bruges, a film written and directed by Martin McDonagh that tells the tale of two hitmen who hide out in Belgium while the wrongdoings of their previous job cool off. There’s constant conflict, hilarious yet brutally dark dialogue, and a story that is like no other.

The film stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in a story that isn’t afraid to take the turn for the worst while promoting an odd place of relatability with two hitmen. Without spoiling anything, it takes something extraordinarily severe but manages to captivate audiences with humor and an unpredictable plot.

Trainspotting (1996)

Trainspotting is a dark story focused on addicts and their struggle through bad ideas and sobriety attempts while keeping a lively dialogue throughout. The film was directed by Danny Boyle and was written by John Hodge. Ewan McGregor stars in the film and is an oddly loveable character in such a grim tale.

American Psycho (2000)

Remember when we discussed how dark comedies take the darkest subject matter, but somehow manage to make them humorous? Well, here comes American Psycho, a film directed by Mary Harron that tells the story of Patrick Burkeman, a young urban professional by day, and a serial killer by night. It can’t get much darker than that, can it?

In the Loop (2009)

For whatever reason, there aren’t as many people that I’m aware of that have the same level of appreciation with In The Loop as some of the other films on this list. Regardless of the accolades the film won, it’s still odd to me. Nevertheless, In the Loop was directed by Armando Lannucci and is a mockumentary about the political dealings of a U.N. vote on military action. What better way to tell a dark story than to bring up politics and military action?



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