Burke & Hare

Burke & Hare

On DVD: 
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Running Time: 
92 minutes
Bonus Features

Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes, Interviews, Trailer

Times in Edinburgh, Scotland, no one can find jobs, money is hard to come by, and the people would rather step over you than help you. Though making a living might be rough it gives William Burke (played by Simon Pegg) and his friend William Hare (played by Andy Serkis) the opportunity to create some business for themselves in selling dead bodies. Only when they find that there are not as many people dying as they expecting they take it upon themselves to bring about the bodies by killing people. What they soon find out is that killing people for money is not as easy as they first figured but now having to pay Hare’s wife Lucky (played by Jesssica Hynes) as well as helping fund an all female production of Macbeth by Helen McDougal (played by Isla Fisher). Needing more bodies to supply the money they need, Burke and Hare up the killing spree until they are finally caught for the West Port Murders.

I didn’t have any clue that this movie was based on the true story of William Burke and William Hare. Though after reading about the story of these two murderers I can see how some aspects where taken away from the true story and given the movie polish. Those aspects would be a series of ghastly murders being committed by 2 men who where doing it for money and turning it into a comedy where I was actually rooting for the 2 men. Burke & Hare takes place during the years of 1827 and 1828 in Scotland where the 2 men Burke and Hare have started to kill people to sell to Dr. Knox (played by Tom Wilkinson) so that he could use the bodies to dissect them for knowledge in the human anatomy.

Not knowing the truth about the movie before watching it was a good thing cause otherwise I would have probably not liked it. Though the movie is not that funny, it’s not one of Simon Peggs normal comedies where I’m laughing out loud for the majority of the movie. This has a dark sense of humor about murder and taken in as just another movie it does have some appeal to it. Both actors do a decent job in playing these two guys who just want to survive in a time when it’s really hard to do that and when they find out they can get money from selling a body they start the killings. Though they seem reluctant at first to kill anyone they still do it and they do it in a blundering manner. Such a manner is with the first attempt when they push a drunk man down some stairs and thinking they had did the deed they see him stand up and walk off. It takes some effort but they are able to get the killings down and do quite a few of them.

While watching this movie though I was kind of liking the two characters of Burke and Hare, mainly because of their fumbling way they did everything. I still could see the dark side of this movie. There’s a moment while they are killing a woman where Hare makes the comment about how they should name what they are doing with giving the murder the name of “Burking”. This statement is made in a jokingly manner, and I’m sure the writers knew it, but the truth of the matter is this is what that style of murder is called. Though the movie is not as evil as some of the horror movies out there in the world, this is one that actually disturbs me because of the truth in it and how it was given such a whimsical feel. The story is dark, the characters where cruel men who where murderers, and it’s been made into a comedy. This should have been a dark tale about what these 2 men did where both were made to be greedy and murderous men instead of 2 guys trying to find some money so one can keep his wife happy and the other can impress the girl he is in love with. If this was done I would have probably liked it more and wouldn’t have came away with this sense of unease. 

Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
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