Apocalypse Clown (2023)

Apocalypse Clown directed by George Kane is bizarre and and anarchic: it won Best Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Big Shoes to Fill

by Alexa Dalby

Apocalypse Clown

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

It is a truth universally acknowledged – or should be – that just because the main characters are clowns, it doesn’t make a film funny. Apocalypse Clown can be amusing at times: but its clowns are unattractive, talentless or disillusioned individuals and the small one is downright scary. They’re somehow quite endearing, though, when they reveal the insecurities behind their comedy red noses.

Apocalypse Clown directed by George Kane and written by Dead Cat Bounce, is a bizarre (or anarchic, depending on your point of view) mixture. It’s a comedy that tries to do too many things at once. The premise is that because of a solar flare, electricity is blacked out all over Ireland meaning no power and no internet just as the legendary clown master (Jean DuCoque, yes, really) dies suddenly and clowns gather for his funeral. 

As a group of clowns traverses Ireland cross-country in a yellow clown car in the company of a self-promoting female journalist, pursued by two murderous living statues, the film also meanders all over the place as it tries to hit too many targets for one story – the media, the internet, new age communities, feral children, boy bands, clowns being obsolete, the end of the world…

Its actors speak with both Irish and English accents. There’s hang-dog Bobo (David Earl, After Life), self-important The Great Alphonso (Ivan Kaye), insecure Pepe, the talentless blue-haired Marcel Marceau-style mime (Fionn Foley) and scene-stealing psychopathic ‘street-clown’ Funzo (Natalie Palamides), who speaks with a strange multi-European accent. Amy De Bhrún is Jenny, the ambitious video journalist with mother issues, who tags along.

I can’t say Apocalypse Clown is hilarious but it did win the Best Irish Film award at the recent Galway Film Fleadh, so perhaps it’s a film for a relaxed end-of-the-week night in the right company.

Apocalypse Clown premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and is released on 1 September 2023 in the UK.

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