Saturday, January 28, 2012

Begin December I saw the movie « Burke and Hare ». It is an English film which tells us the story of two Irish men who live in Edinburgh in the early nineteenth century. William Hare and William Burke have financial problems and do not have any plan to get money. But then, one of Hare’s neighbors suddenly dies and they have to get rid of the body. In this period, Edinburgh is well-known for its medical universities and colleges. But the lecturers of anatomy have difficulties to get cadavers to make their dissections. Burke and Hare then have the idea to sell the body of their dead neighbor to get money. Since they can’t find any other solutions to earn money honestly, they start to kill people and sell their bodies to Doctor Knox, a local anatomist.

This film is the adaptation of real events that took place in the nineteenth century in Edinburgh. But the film has few things in common with these events. In reality, the two protagonists were serial killers and had no problems with killing people and selling their bodies. But in the movie, we feel that Burke and Hare do not like to kill people. They just do that to have money and they choose people such as beggars and travelers to kill, so persons not considered as important persons. In reality they are also helped by Mrs. Hare and Mrs. Mcdougal, the mistress of Burke. But in the movie, only Mrs. Hare helps them. Mrs. Mcdougal wears the name of Ginny Hawkins and is interested in Burke because he accepts to finance for her play. Indeed, she wants to direct Mac Beth with a company consisting of women only. Besides, the way the murders are discovered is not the same in the movie as in reality. Another fact that is not the same is the question of what happens to the characters at the end.

What I liked in this movie was the humor. Indeed, it is a comedy despite the theme of the film which is not that funny. But this black humor is also the weak point of the movie because we tend to see these serial killers as friendly though they are not kind at all. The movie wants us to be on their side and the director makes the subject of the film not that terrible. We have the impression that killing people to get money is not that bad. But the reason why I chose this movie as a portfolio activity is that it takes place in Edinburgh. However we do not see the city a lot except the Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Charlotte Kinard.

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