Two dark comedies that hope we’ll be amused by the violence

Brent Northup

Bullet Train

The Myrna Loy

Grade: C+ for both

I’ve never been comfortable with dark comedies that dilute violence with laughter.

I tend to agree with Diana Taylor of NYU who observed that “nothing seems more impossible than smiling about violence.”

But, on occasion, the satire hits home as in “Dr. Strangelove” or “Life of Brian.” The latter ends at the crucifixion with Jesus leading the ironic chorus of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

In rare cases, a great film can emerge from mixing laughter and pathos, as with “Life is Beautiful.” That touching story focused on a father keeping his son smiling in a concentration camp.

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Only great artists can tiptoe across this tightrope of blood and banter while keeping their balance.

The list of dark comedies that are neither insightful nor funny is long.

Cases in Point: “Bullet Point” and “Vengeance,” two hybrid misfires, both playing in Helena.

In “Bullet Train” we watch Brad Pitt joke his way through a battle of assassins on a Tokyo train. Pitt’s performance exudes arrogance, like

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