Bio-pics are very hit or miss. On one end the film can be a compelling look at a figure and tell the truth without pulling any punches like 2003’s “Monster.”
Then there can be ones that distort facts to the film’s advantage and make the person seem wholeheartedly better than he or she really was, like 2004’s “Alexander.” This film was a poorly directed film that gave a much distorted picture of Alexander the Great.
Thankfully “A Funny Man” wasn’t bad at all; it was terrific, though not funny in the slightest.
The film is about Danish comedian Dirch Passer, played brilliantly by Nikolaj Lie Kaasand, and follows him through three decades of his life.
“A Funny Man” starts out in the 1950’s in Denmark. Passer has a successful comedy routine with his friend Kjeld, played by Lars Ranthe, who is envious of Passer’s popularity, even though he is the better comedian.
Both men are fond of swindling women and drinking too much, Kjeld especially, and it leads to his downfall at the theater where their routine is leaving Passer the sole act.
Passer starts to notice those who make his routines want people to laugh at him, not with him.
He decides to try drama with a performance of “Of Mice and Men” but the crowd thinks he’s still preforming comedy and laughs, leading to Dirch leaving the stage in tears.
Passer is a complex character who constantly wants to be taken seriously, but at the same time refuses to give up his almost embarrassing comedy routines because it is all he knows.
He quits several times, only to return to even more humiliating routines.
The film shows he is never faithful; he has multiple children from different women and never spends time with his kids.
Passer is hardly ever seen without a glass of whisky and he uses it to dull the pain of his routines habitually.
“A Funny Man” builds to a terrific ending that plays out much differently than most bio-pics and didn’t do the typical redemption of the main character like most films of this genre do.
The film was a big hit in its native country of Denmark, though it didn’t see a release in the American market except for a few film festivals and screenings.
Clocking in at just less than two hours, the film flies and paints a very true picture of Passer’s triumphs and tribulations.
The only mishap of the film was that didn’t explain time passing very well.
Most films will show the year or give some indicator, but this one did not, which might confuse some movie-goers.
Overall, this bio-pic of a Danish comedian was a great film.
With great pacing and remarkable acting, “A Funny Man” is very interesting story of a man who isn’t well known to American audiences but brightened the days of Danish audiences.