Tusk: Kevin Smith’s Growth

tuskIt is clear that once in a while you will find a writer/director that has an actual style. It seems that in recent times they have all come from the angle of drama. It might be suspenseful, or action-packed, but when it comes to comedy there are few that can make fun of abstract and scary concepts. Kevin Smith is one of those few, and his work is done like no other, and the folks that attend the new Smith movies expecting just comedy are mistaken. He has joined the realm of the writers that place ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and the humanness that occurs is the real brilliance.

The Greek philosopher Plato divided theater into two categories: Tragedy, centering on a great person, or protagonist, who possesses a tragic flaw that leads to a dramatic reversal and self-recognition, and comedy, humorously addressing topical and timely situations

Now we can see that comedy here means laughing at life situations. Not the comedy that Smith use to do with such things as Clerks, Mallrats, and all his other early work. This comedy here speaks more of the comedy that Smith began to engage us with in the early stages of his career with movies like Dogma. The laughter that he created by poking fun of religion and the fact that many of those beliefs are very absurd was done just right. But in Dogma we still see a very light take on religion. It wasn’t until recently with his Red State that darkness mixed with the humor. There we began to see the full development of his style.

The depiction of the religious fanatics in Red State was both humorous and scary. The fact that the FBI wanted them all dead regardless of age was also both funny and scary. The fact that the final prank alarmed everyone into believing that these fanatics might have been gods chosen ones was again funny and scary.  All these points were commenting on actual occurrences in our own time and place. I can easily see such a religious group existing somewhere in the world with this disgusting hate. I can see a youth wanting to live and experience things. I can see our government wanting to make things easy for themselves. I can also see the final scene having affected me the same way; holy shit! There is a God and I just attacked his chosen ones! I’m fu%#ed! That was what made that movie brilliant and funny.

Now I haven’t said anything about Tusk, as far as the story goes, and I won’t. What I will say is that it is a damn good movie and well worth a viewing this weekend. On Rotten Tomatoes the critics gave it a 40%, making it rotten. To begin with I do not pay any mind or attention to the ideas of the critics. I base my decision on the comments of the everyday viewers like myself and the rest of the Black Ship crew, and there was no surprise to see that viewers gave it a 60% “fresh” rating.

I was hoping to see a 75% or more from we the people, but reading the comments I found that people didn’t think it was funny enough. Okay, folks, not everything Kevin Smith’s does will be a gut-busting comedy about nothing. This was a funny look into a very dark world. You would have to have been sick to laugh throughout. I even noticed some scenes that were emotionally charged being mistaken as a joke, and one person in the audience stated that she didn’t know when to laugh. The humor is not a joke or punch line. In Tusk, the humor is, in a delightfully twisted way, the scenario itself.

I highly recommend this film. So if you’re wondering what to get into this weekend, check it out and lets compare notes.

Richard Larios
About Richard Larios (43 Articles)
Richard Larios is an anarchist organizer working out of Los Angeles. He is the owner of Feral Publication, which publishes zines. He also contributes regularly, under his pen name “Until Victory or Death”, for the Black Flag Newsletter, which is put out by the Free Association of Anarchists.

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