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Beautiful People

Wickedly Funny

By Karen Feigenbaum

This hilarious independent British black comedy is somewhat slow to warm up, but the film definitely grows on the viewer as it progresses. Beautiful People focuses on a number of Londoners and their different stories, and portrays how their lives overlap throughout the course of a day.

Because there are so many different characters, the film requires at least thirty to forty-five minutes just to introduce them all and for the audience to gain any appreciation for their circumstances. Initially, the viewer isn’t really vested in any of these random people or their stories, but interest is definitely fostered by the end of the movie.

Many of the individual stories focus on Bosnia and recent Serb and Croat issues, with oddly comedic twists. In fact, before the movie even finishes rolling the initial credits completely, two men -- one Serbian and one Croatian -- engage in a random fistfight and foot-chase scene set to wildly frenetic (yet oddly appropriate) music; this introduction perfectly sets the tone of absurdism and hilarity for the ensuing film. Later on, the film tells the tale of a heroin addict and the former Yugoslav territory which is so ridiculous, so preposterous, and yet so positively hysterical that explanations simply don’t do it justice and would detract from the unexpected humor generated by honest surprise.

The concept of intertwining vignettes is hardly a new one, but it’s rarely done well; past tragedies include Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, and the more painful recent release Magnolia. The fact that this movie is written and directed by first-time filmmaker Jasmin Dizdar makes it all the more impressive that it works so successfully. The actors all turn out solid performances, and the cast is littered with deceptively familiar British extras. Half the movie will be spent trying to figure out what movies they were in previously (hint: one is from Four Weddings and a Funeral, and another is from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).

It should be noted, though, that this movie is probably not going to be enjoyed by everyone. Some will find it clever and fun, but perhaps only those who enjoy jet black comedies and British independent films, and who aren’t offended by movie portrayals of heroin addiction or foul language uttered through thick British accents. Viewers who like any combination of the above should probably make it a point to get to a theater soon, because this is the type of obscure film which unfortunately doesn’t last long in theaters.