Movies are probably the most extravagantly used artform in the contemporary world. Their visual lucidity, generally conventional formatting and engaging dialogues make them a very genuine representation of thematic conveyance. But as the art engages in self-indulgence, striving to be a more refined version of itself, with the progression of time, it develops a sense of elusiveness. This, unfortunately in most cases is a distancing factor for the attachment between cinema and the masses, who look at art not to appreciate it but to enjoy it. There’s eventually a collective shift of interest to genre abiding works, mostly comedy films.
Comedy films are usually light hearted and primarily composed of humor that reaches out to a wide audience. Most of them though, are guilty pleasures with monotonous narratives and characters, incorporating different themes and settings, leading to the implication of a neo-loop. On the contrary, in the initial stages artists like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin were revolutionary forces of not only the genre but the film industry as a whole. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn’s pioneering work on romantic comedies that blended humor with serious subject matter was of great importance, and there were many more legends to follow.
But I believe comedy really became a force to be reckoned with after the motive changed from entertainment to social awareness, which led to the birth of dark comedy. Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, Bergman and Kubrick’s works left a lasting effect on the audiences’ minds with their use of humor in situations demanding a considerable amount of seriousness. This unfortunately was the truth that these minds saw, for the society was heckled with the most inhumane issues disguised under various aspects, and were quietly making a favorable mockery out of people. Dark comedy movies over the years witnessed a lot of changes with its use becoming common with any underlying issue that harm the society. Now, dark comedies have become more compact and evolved into character studies of a variety of people present in this world and their perception of society, and because of their growing acceptance have become a great source of entertainment. Here is the list of dark comedy movies of the 21st century you just cannot miss. You can watch some of these dark comedy movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
1. American Psycho
The first thing that flashes in most minds when they hear the name Christian Bale is ‘The Dark Knight’. However, truly, nothing comes close to Bale’s Oscar worthy performance in ‘American Psycho’. American Psycho is a very misunderstood movie, and even incessantly accused of being a quirky slasher flick. It’s a hysterical den of iniquity, honestly, but that shouldn’t deviate from the fact that it’s one of the greatest character studies ever put on the big screen. It’s a grisly satirical take on Manhattan in the 70s with a domineering emphasis on the puppy lifestyle.
The whole movie takes place through a first person p.o.v, with constant echoing voice-overs brilliantly signifying the massive space between the real Bateman and his image. Everything from the title to the most tense moments reeks of comical castigation for Patrick Bateman, a fantastic irony for his flawed search for catharsis. Bale’s wide range of emotions perfectly conveys Bateman’s fragile state and his inner struggles, which is on full-fledged display during two remarkable monologues within a span of 10 minutes. Mary Harron’s only masterpiece, this is arguably the best dark comedy from this century.