Made with a micro-budget of about the same cost as “a mid-range family car”, Black Pond could have been a low quality mess of a film. But with comedy genius Chris Langham in the lead, it shows its worth in buckets.
Known for his Bafta winning role as Hugh Abbot on political comedy The Thick of It, Chris Langham here returns to acting since spending 3 months in jail for charges of downloading child pornography in 2005. Judging by the success of the film, a black comedy about the suspicious death of a loner in the woods, it looks like Langham’s loyal fan-base have stood by him and welcome his return to acting.
The sharp and witty screenwriting by 24-year-old Will Sharpe is astonishing, as it draws out a landscape of middle England with humour only seen in last year’s Brit talent discovery; Richard Ayoade’s Submarine.
Black Pond uses a mixture of mockumentary style talking heads and narrative storytelling to conduct situational comedy, creating a fresh take on the dysfunctional family drama which has been seen over and over.
Comedian and Never Mind the Buzzcocks host Simon Amstell also rakes in the laughs as an anti-therapist, showing he is multi-talented as well as floppy-haired and adorable. I wouldn’t be surprised if he popped up in other films following this.
Otherwise, highlights of the film include Chris Langham talking about dreams “I had a dream about ham sandwiches and broadband on Tuesday” and the little pieces of animation dotted throughout to pull things together nicely.
Black Pond is out now and showing at selected cinemas around the country.