It's All Gone Pete Tong - Dowse knows comedy
| Director Michael Dowse knows comedy. He knows that comedy grows tired when it's all about people doing gross things or falling over furniture. He knows that comedy falls flat when it picks on groups that make easy targets because they are "other." He knows that comedy just sucks when it's simply silly and has nothing to say. He also knows that comedy works really well when you do all these things but you infuse the story and characters with reason and give them a voice. He knows all this and shows us he knows it in the remarkably funny new film It's All Gone Pete Tong.
Summed up in the most obvious manner, It's All Gone Pete Tong is the story of a European DJ who goes deaf. To be more accurate, this film is a shining example of how to make a truly funny picture. This premise provides a number of points on which to build great comedy including the absurdity/tragedy of the musician without "ears," and the absurdity/tragedy of human characters striving in a world of excess (party circuit).
There is so much to make fun of here but fortunately Dowse ensures that we are not simply standing outside, poking fun at the freaks in the film, but relating to the main character so we can laugh at ourselves.
Dowse doesn't ridicule the character or belittle the tragedy of the situation and instead actually deals with the issue of loss. Loss is a universal human experience and, like most human experience, despite the pain involved, has elements that are quite hilarious. Like a true student of human behaviour, he mines this area for laughs and these laughs are so much deeper and richer because we can understand it, because we relate to it.
Dowse brilliantly delves into the pain and tragedy of addiction while consistently making this funny too. While addiction has become more and more a common human experience it remains absurd at its core and he explores this with sensitivity and great creativity. The conceit he uses to articulate the addictive experience is on the one hand remarkably accurate and ridiculously hilarious.
Dowse's previous film Fubar showed a great deal of promise and Pete Tong delivers on this. I look forward to seeing what he will do next.