A few years back, actor Edward Hogg was tipped to be one of Brit film’s next big things. It never quite happened, perhaps due to his unerring nose for a really mediocre film (remember ‘Bunny and the Bull’?). ‘The Comedian’ is a better-than-average showcase for Hogg’s undeniable talents, casting him as Ed, a misanthropic stand-up and call-centre operator whose life is fraying at the edges. Ed is a fascinating character, simultaneously brittle and relatable, petulant and sympathetic, and Hogg plays him with studied perfection. But once again, the rest of the film falls short.
There’s no real story here, just a series of meandering episodes and character asides, trundling towards an unsatisfying finale. A pair of very different, equally brilliant scenes on London night buses show what first-time writer-director Tom Shkolnik is capable of: beautifully observed human interaction and close-to-the-bone social commentary. There’s not a moment here which rings false. But for all its honesty, the film feels frustratingly incomplete, a great character in search of a story.