Cast: David Earl, Natalie Palamides, Amy De Bhrún, Fionn Foley, Tadhg Murphy and Ivan Kaye
Director: George Kane
In Cinemas: September 1, 2023
When a mysterious technological blackout plunges Ireland into anarchy and chaos, a group of failed washed-up clowns are forced to traverse the country for one last shot at their dreams. – IMDB
The most admirable element of Apocalypse Clown is the level of creativity and imagination when constructing a plot against the backdrop of an Irish Armageddon featuring performing clowns. It is a fresh and original idea that maximises and utilises the available resources when managing and comprising a minuscule budget. On paper, the concept of this film leads it to be a simple, straightforward idea about failed, unappreciated passionate clowns that have yet to have self-fulfilment in becoming the best in their entertainment field. But time seems to be running out as a catastrophic doomsday looms over their lives and dreams. But that simplicity and comedic opportunity becomes lost and not triggered when it is necessary to do so. At the start of the film, during a gathering of clowns at the funeral of a renowned comic entertainer, there is a scene involving two clowns at a bar, and one of them delivers a line about having big pants, which is hilarious effortless and effective. Unfortunately, gags like these are short-lived and seem to disappear like a magic act at a circus. Certain things that do not deliver become apparent throughout the movie when the humour and attempt at comedy are forced and aren’t even worth a half-enthusiastic smirk.
The movie is filled with big ideas and themes that lose meaning and understanding when trying to piece the story together. At one point, there is too much information to gather, as it becomes too clunky and cluttered when three different storylines are not connected to the main narrative of an apocalypse. It would be more suitable if the movie title were changed to Clown. In one instance, I forgot that it centred around the theme of an apocalypse, as there are no visual hints or clues that something devastating has happened other than an empty mountain landscape. There is something clever about having a scary clown, a children’s party clown, an old-school circus clown and a clown that does mime in the same group simultaneously. There will always be those conflicting and strong personas between the group that could be funny to see unfold, but it doesn’t work. The script is poor and struggles to be as humourous as it needs to be when assigning dialogue to prominent characters, like The Great Alphonso, an over-the-top British old-school clown who wants to be the best in the business. Mistakenly, considering using a killer clown as the comedic potential and main person to carry the jokes doesn’t work when it feels painfully and awkwardly forced.
The opening five minutes of Apocalypse Clown was hilarious and connected with the audience when earning a laugh or two because it was simple and organic. It carried that sense of realism of what clowns might do or act in specific social scenarios. I am all in favour of writers’ and directors’ artistic and inventive ideas, but the audience needs to be considered. There needs to be clarity or energy when presenting a promising concept that has the opportunity to be unique. Exploring the ancient comedic art form presented in a movie is meant to be exciting and refreshing, but instead, the script and unnatural comedy take away that potential. But it was lovely to see Ireland used in a creative and beautiful natural beauty presentation, which will always look good in any production.