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Black Comedy / Film

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Films — Animation

  • Frozen (2013): Multiple, with Olaf:
    • Olaf introduces himself with the cheery song "In Summer", where he sings about how fun the first summer of his life will be. Except Olaf is a snowman who's only a day old and doesn't know yet that the arrival of summer will cause him to melt and die.
      Olaf: Winter's a great time to stay home and cuddle, but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!
    • Being made of snow also makes him Nigh-Invulnerable to any form of injury.
      Olaf: (after accidentally walking his upper half into an icicle) Oh, look at that. I've been impaled.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water:
    • At one point Plankton and SpongeBob sneak back into Bikini Bottom to rescue Plankton's computer wife Karen, who was being tortured by the denizens of the town because they thought she had the Krabby Patty secret formula. Plankton and SpongeBob need Karen to operate the time machine they had built, and remove her monitor from her robotic body. SpongeBob acts like he's squicked out about it, saying "I've never carried a head before". Plankton responds "Don't worry, you'll get used to it," implying he's cut off and carried actual heads around before. Since Karen is a computer, this doesn't harm her, but she does state that powering the time machine is going to take up all her processing power.
    • The scene with a fish in hospital eating a patty. Dr. Gilliam declares that he'll be gone in a week, and his wife mourns the imminent loss while eating a patty herself.
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  • Mary and Max when it isn't being depressing, it has quite a few darkly comedic moments, such as when Max's air conditioner kills a mime, or when Max attends Jury Duty for a man who killed his friends at his own surprise birthday party.
  • In Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, the titular Titans want their own movie so they go back in time to stop the origins of the more popular heroes. When they get back to the present, the villains have taken over so they have to go back in time and restore the heroes. They cause Krypton's explosion but the bleakest thing they do is to Batman. They get the Waynes coming out of the movie theater, put the sting of pearls around Martha Wayne's neck, and then shove them down the alley to their deaths. You even hear her scream and the gunshots.
  • The scene in The Incredibles when it was described that many superheroes who had capes died because of their capes was Played for Laughs.
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  • Offscreen variation in Wreck-It Ralph. The owner of the arcade notices the Fix-It Felix Jr. machine acting up and says it's gone cuckoo (like his nana). Then he comments that if they can't fix it, they're gonna have to put the game out to pasture... like his nana.
  • Igor is filled to the brim with this. This is a kids' movie where one of the characters is a suicidal rabbit who's been made immortal and where brainwashing people is treated just like a carwash.
    "It's like I'm sending my kid to school for the first learn how to kill."

Films — Live-Action

  • Paul Verhoeven likes doing this, especially in his big budget action movies: RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers and Hollow Man.
  • Ariel: Kasurinen complains throughout the movie about the roof on his convertible not working. When Mikkonen has been stabbed towards the end and is bleeding out in the car, he says "What does this button do?", and presses it. The roof starts going up, and Mikkonen dies as it does so.
  • Arizona Dream features a dinner party which goes from a bitter mother-daughter dispute to the daughter announcing she's going to hang herself right there — using a pair of stretchy pantyhose, which have enough elasticity to allow her to bounce harmlessly to the floor. Everybody else is so busy having their own freakouts that they barely notice. This is still in the early part of the film, and it gets even darker — and funnier — from there.
  • From Avengers: Endgame, Rhodey suggests that, in order to restore the decimated universe via time travel, they should go back in time to when Thanos was an infant and asphyxiate him to death. Bruce is understandably horrified by this, with Rhodey's nonchalant justification being "it's Thanos."
  • Terry Gilliam's Brazil lives this trope, unless you're watching the "Love Conquers All" edit.
  • Burke and Hare, a comedy that is very loosely based on the real-life murderers.
  • Clue the Movie, based on the board game. Combines this with the Murder Mystery genre.
  • Steps Trodden Black Most of the jokes in the middle bit consist of this. Half of the humor comes from Alex's blasé indifference to the traumatizing events going on around him. The fact that everyone else's reactions to the violence are realistic and deadly serious only makes Alex's attitude funnier.
  • Deadpool (2016) scores some brutal kills, but they're played for laughs.
    • In the test footage, he introduces himself in Spanish to two mercs, before he unbuckles one of the Mooks' seatbelt and kicks him out the vehicle, where the same dude's head is then run over by the back wheel of the SUV they are riding in.
    • At the end of the test footage, he holds up a crayon drawing of him cutting off a merc's head in front of an actual merc while careening towards him in an out-of-control SUV. He then proceeds to cut the head off of that same merc as the SUV flies over him.
    • Late in the movie, Deadpool responds to Ajax telling him to Say My Name with "Ooh, I'm gonna fucking spell it out for ya." He then spells out Francis's real name using the bodies of his dead mooks, complete with a severed head dotting the "i", with another body mooning Francis.
  • Two instances in Deadpool: No Good Deed:
    • It turns out that the man getting mugged has been shot and killed by the time Deadpool finally changes into his costume.
    • When he finds the man's corpse, Deadpool admits that maybe he should've called 911, before lying down with his head on the man's stomach.
  • Death Becomes Her. The original tagline was "Your Basic Black Comedy".
  • The Devil's Candy: Murderous lunatic Ray uses a guitar to drown out the voices. He gives that guitar to his latest obsession, Zooey, and in the end her father Jesse uses it to beat Ray to death.
  • The Distinguished Gentleman is about a black Con Man who scams his way into Congress by pretending to be a popular, dead, white man. When he gets there, the film turns to satire when he discovers just how small-time his game really is and who the real criminals are.
  • Dr. Strangelove. Also a touch of Gallows Humor on the director's part, since it was made at a time when nuclear war was a very real possibility. The filmmakers originally intended it as a serious film about an accidental nuclear war, but when they realized the inherent absurdity of the situation, they decided to play it for black humor instead. Notably, they didn't tell Slim Pickens, so his performance was completely straight.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous (not that Drop Dead Gorgeous).
  • There's a bit of this in Duck Soup, with things like a loud and cheerful "We're going to war!" musical number. Nobody is actually killed, though.
  • The Irish film A Film with Me in It is about a failed actor who has to deal with the bodies of people who keep dying in accidents in his flat.
  • A Fish Called Wanda varies in tone between serious caper thriller and outright farce, but in the last analysis leans more towards black comedy. This is, after all, a movie where killing an old lady's dogs one by one is a Running Gag played strictly for laughs.
  • The Foot Fist Way, a film about a martial arts washout badly running his Tae Kwon Do school and dealing with martial problems from his cheating wife.
  • Four Lions, a comedy involving the world's worst Jihadist suicide bombers.
  • The Funeral is a film about a Japanese family preparing for a funeral. Its comedy is more based on the events going on however it does have a few morbid jokes, such as when a few of the family members peek inside the crematory and comment on it.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America is built on this trope Up to Eleven to the point it crosses the line back and forth. It's worth noting that it's Played for Laughs
  • The Green Butchers is about two butchers who open up their own shop. One day while closing up shop, they accidentally leave a technician Locked in a Freezer, something they first discover the next day, when the poor guy has already been frozen to death. Needing to dispose of the body, they decide to sell off the meat in the shop as marinated chicken in the shop, only to discover that people actually really, really like the taste, which motivates them to arrange more "accidents" to have more human meat to sell. And in the end, it turns out that wasn't the human meat people liked; it was the marinate all along. One of the butchers even discovers that human meat has a pretty bad aftertaste, and using real chicken actually improves upon the dish.
  • Grosse Pointe Blank: So, when you go back to your high school reunion and everyone asks what you do now, do you tell them you're a hitman or not?
  • Middle Man:A film about a terrible comedian who gets caught up in a murder spree and shady dealings while making his way to Las Vegas. The body count is admirable.
  • Heathers: A film about getting your own back on high school bullies by engineering their murders and making them look like suicides.
    Oh, my God. I'll have to send my S.A.T. scores to San Quentin instead of Stanford.
  • He Never Died: There's cannibalism, kidnapping, blackmail, and mobsters and the protagonist really just wants to be left alone. Is it so much to ask for a quiet night of bingo at the local church?
  • Paddy Chayefsky's 1971 film The Hospital has doctors dying from unusual causes, while at the same time the Chief of Surgery (George C. Scott) is so despondent over the meaninglessness of life, as well as being impotent, he's trying to kill himself, until he rapes the daughter of a patient at which point he realizes he does have a reason to live!
  • The House of Yes could be called a Dead President Comedy the way it plays with the JFK assassination. The character in question is an Ax-Crazy Nightmare Fetishist with a severe fixation on her blue-blood brother. This can be viewed as Anvilicious Black Comedy, or outright Fetish Fuel, but it's a definite case of Crosses the Line Twice.
  • In Bruges In a film about two hitmen on the run after one of them botched a hit by shooting an innocent child, who spends his time drinking and contemplating suicide the only humour you'd expect to find is the black kind.
  • In Order of Disappearance is the story of a Norwegian father avenging his son's murder. Coen Brothers meet Tarantino.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Mostly the parts with the Basterds and the scenes with Hitler have black comedy elements, though the film as a whole is a drama.
  • Jawbreaker : When three girls accidentially kill their best friend they try and cover it up and try and keep a classmate silent.
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets, which somehow makes the cold-blooded murder of seven people hilarious.
    "I shot an arrow in the air..."
    "...she fell to Earth in Berkeley Square.".
  • Any time Martin Scorsese makes a comedy or includes comedy in even his darkest films, it's gonna be pitch black:
    • The King of Comedy was most certainly not the slapstick riot that its title and casting (Jerry Lewis) suggested to the average moviegoer. Thematically years ahead of its time, neither audiences nor critics knew what to make of it.
    • After Hours watches an office drone in NYC meet a beautiful girl in a cafe and spend the rest of the night trying to get home alive. I just wanted to leave my apartment... maybe meet a nice girl. And now I've got to die for it!
    • Both Goodfellas and Casino could be seen as black comedies, given how much they cross the line with their violence and language to the point of absurdity, but moreso the former.
    • In Cape Fear, there's a scene that involves around accidentally slipping on a pool of blood, and this was a result of Max Cady murdering someone... while in drag.
    • Gangs of New York has its share — for instance, Bill casually chatting up a friend as he walks to the gallows and buying his mother's locket from him.
    • The Departed has a lot of this, courtesy of Jack Nicholson's Frank Costello.
    • The Wolf of Wall Street is just about one of the funniest films there is about the subjects of greed, corruption, excess, drug addiction, and the heaps of ruination that they bring into people's lives.
  • Mixed with Camp in Kingsman: The Secret Service, the movie has this in spades, from every world leader cooperating with the Big Bad (including apparently the President of the United States and the Queen of Great Britain) having their head blown up to patriotic British music to Galahad killing half of a church group...set to jaunty music.
  • Ealing Studio's 1955 film The Ladykillers, which is The Caper till it all goes pear-shaped.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian As per the page quote, this is a film which laughs at death. The cheery ditty quoted is sung by a group of Jews whilst they're being crucified.
  • Lord of War switches genres halfway through but the first half is filled with this.
  • Man Bites Dog. A mockumentary about the daily life of a serial killer... in which the journalists also participate in the crimes!
  • M*A*S*H is essentially Catch-22 lite.
    • At least in the movie and early seasons. The TV show eventually became a dramedy and in some episodes just a straight drama.
    • "We have the finalists in the shrapnel-catching contest."
  • Mon Oncle Antoine: When Antoine the undertaker and Benoit set out to collect the body of Jos Poulin's 15-year-old son, Antoine confidently asserts that a medium-sized coffin should be big enough. It isn't, and they kind of have to cram the body into a too-short casket. The Black Comedy gets amped up later when Antoine puts the whip to the horse on the way back home, and the coffin falls out of the sleigh.
  • Monsieur Verdoux, Charlie Chaplin's classic daring comedy about a Serial Killer.
  • Most of Mulholland Dr. is serious, but there's a segment involving everything possible going wrong with a shooting murder that definitely falls under this category.
  • The film Mystery Team is a mild version of this. The film is essentially a murder mystery, but the humor comes not so much from the murder, but the character's reactions to it. (For example, one character explains to an orphaned girl that life isn't fair by pointing out he didn't get a bike for his birthday). The film also has jokes about cancer, pedophilia and drug use, which are treated less seriously.
  • Network presents Howard Beale's descent into insanity and assassination at the order of his boss as a long joke with a killer punchline.
  • A New Leaf, a dark comedy about a spoiled man who spends all of his inherited wealth, then plots to marry into wealth and murder his wife.
  • Pulp Fiction at several points. Mia Wallace's heroin overdose is a particularly long and manic dark joke. Marvin getting shot in the face too.
  • The Room according to Word of God, but not according to anyone else. After it became clear that what was clearly intended to be a moving romantic drama was in fact reducing audiences to tears of laughter at the So Bad, It's Good factor, Tommy Wiseau has since taken to describing his masterwork as a "black comedy", apparently as some kind of face-saving exercise.
  • Scotland, PA takes the plot of Macbeth, transfers it to 1970's rural Pennsylvania, and plays the whole thing for laughs.
  • Shallow Grave, the breakout film for a young Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston, is a British dramedy about three roommates who put out a classified ad for a fourth person to fill in an empty spot in their flat. They heckle most of the applicants, until finding someone they all agree would make a fine roommate. Or so they think... Turns out he's a drug runner for the mafia and, shortly after he moves in, the three find him dead in his room of a drug overdose, with a large briefcase full of money lying next to him. They make the decision to not report the crime, dismember the body, and keep the money for themselves. Hilarity (and psychopathy) ensue.
  • Super Deluxe has multiple instances of black comedy, from a man who dies in his (married) ex-girlfriend's bed, to a farce about hauling a dead body out of an apartment without anyone seeing it, to a couple discussing marriage troubles overseen by the dead body like a silent marriage counselor. It also has a boy traumatized that the porn movie he was eagerly awaiting turns out to star his own mom.
  • The two Tales from the Crypt theatrical movies Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood are full of this.
  • The aptly titled Very Bad Things, in which the emotional toll of the protagonist's preparations for his impending wedding to a Bridezilla is compounded by the accidental death of a hooker at his bachelor party and the resulting ever-worsening train wreck of bad decisions and bad luck which, by the end of the movie, has ruined the lives of everyone it hasn't killed.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a family fantasy comedy about... murder, adultery, and racism. And corrupt businesses such as the destruction of the LA Red Car. (But the film was a blockbuster... You can't argue with success.)
  • The Tom Green-directed film Freddy Got Fingered, which actually features the star/writer/director chomping on a baby's umbilical cord, among other weird and gross things. Roger Ebert famously said of this movie:
    "The day may come when Freddy Got Fingered is seen as a milestone of neo-surrealism. The day will never come when it is seen as funny."
  • The intro segment to the movie Postal (based on the game of the same name, which is a bad sign, and directed by Uwe Boll) goes like this, to quote The Other Wiki:
    September 11, 2001. Terrorists are about to fly a plane into the World Trade Center when they realize that there can't possibly be enough virgins left in the afterlife, given the recent rash of suicide bombings. After a quick phone call to their leader confirms that they may only get twenty, they decide to call off the attack and fly to The Bahamas. Just then, the cockpit door is kicked open and the passengers struggle to take control of the plane. Veering out of control, it smashes into the Twin Towers — the fiery explosion revealing the film's title card.
    • According to the few reviewers who managed to see the movie, this is the least offensive part.
    • Sadly, it's also probably the funniest. The rest of the movie is feeble action sequences and stale jokes. The only possible exception are a few choice one liners. In a job interview Q&A: "What is the difference between a duck..."
  • Meet the Feebles has the puppet form of Black Comedy.
  • Another Peter Jackson film, Braindead, has some when the nurse zombie and the priest zombie have themselves some zombie sex and spawn a precocious little zombie scamp in a ridiculously short amount of time. Lionel decides to take it to the park for some reason. Hilarity ensues.
  • Team America: World Police from the creators of South Park.
  • Monty Python is not averse to Black Comedy, but Monty Python's The Meaning of Life is probably their darkest film.
  • The Luis Buñuel 1930 classic L' Âge d'or, The Golden Age has got lots of these jokes (and it's the most hilarious film ever), one of the main characters is a man working for a good will mission organisation, and is on a mission to spread happiness in the world. He randomly attacks people, he kicks a blind man and Kick the Dog more than once. One scene also includes a man that shoot an annoying kid with a rifle.
    • This is far Older Than They Think in film — some of the very earliest silent comedies feature prop babies getting trampled, thrown out windows and hit by trains (carried over from vaudeville, where everybody got hurt).
  • Norm MacDonald's film Dirty Work, especially the last line when the hero explains that everything worked out and he got the girl "...and Dr. Farthing got the money to his bookies. But the bookies killed him anyway. So he's dead. Well, that's the end."
  • Seltzer and Friedberg did a "dead baby" humour with a Juno Expy in Disaster Movie.
  • Chris manages this in Tomorrow: When the War Began. He describes in horrific detail how he found his neighbours shot dead in their car along with their baby daughter by the invading soldiers, but his stoned dialogue is hilarious enough that it Crosses the Line Twice.
  • The Feast trilogy is this whenever it's not occupied with Gorn (and sometimes when it is).
  • Vampires Suck Death by bowling ball.
  • Airplane! features a number of scenes that Cross The Line Twice in this fashion, including implied extreme violence against a hysterical woman, blatant racial stereotyping Played for Laughs, and passengers and crew cheerfully oblivious to the dying struggles of a Littlest Cancer Patient. And people killing themselves because they got tired of listening to the lead character's life story.
  • The Thailand action/comedy film SARS Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis features a few rather tasteless jokes, like a zombie fetus clawing its way out of its mother's stomach to attack the heroes, only to be foiled by the umbilical cord still being attached (and too short).
  • The movie version of A Scanner Darkly takes the few comedic moments from the novel, and makes them an almost equal balance to the main plot, which is about an undercover narcotics cop becoming addicted to a deadly drug, and suffering permenent brain damage that destroys his sense of identity. But hey, funny hallucinations and crazy junkie antics for all!
  • Kevin Smith has been known to dabble in this, particularly in Clerks when it turns out Caitlin accidentally had sex with a corpse.
  • The TV movie Sunset Limousine is generally family-friendly, but there are a few instances of black humour, the blackest of them all coming when John Ritter, having inadvertenly switched on a conveyor belt, fights a casket as it is being drawn into a retort (specifically, he tries and fails—humorously—to pull it out as it goes in). Easily the most scarily funny moment of Ritter's three-decade career.
    Julie: [seeing the mourners shuffle in as the retort's door closes] Nice going, Alan.
  • Shadow of the Vampire is a darkly humourous film re-imagining Murnau's horror classic Nosferatu as being shot starring a real vampire. At the end the vampire kills most of the cast and Murnau keeps the camera rolling.
  • Happiness (1998) is this through and through. Particularly with its portrayal of pedophilia and what a Dysfunction Junction it all is.
  • The Alfred Hitchcock comedy The Trouble with Harry. Interestingly, while the film did poorly at the box-office, the Black Comedy worked just fine when Hitch went to television (see the Live-Action TV page).
  • Miss Nobody. Picture American Psycho, only with a perky female secretary instead of a male yuppie. Even the death scenes have music more befitting an old cartoon than a movie about a Serial Killer.
  • American Psycho also qualifies though it's so dark some people fail to notice the satire.
  • A Clockwork Orange frequently indulges in this, with the most notorious moment being when Alex and his Droogs beat and rape a couple in their own home while performing the title tune from Singin' in the Rain.

  • Pain and Gain sure does play like one, even during the more darker moments of the film.
  • The Evil Dead series was seasoned with Black Comedy from the beginning, but by the end of the trilogy it had come to overtake the horror.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger may have been one of the earliest comedic horror villains, and many followed with varying success.
  • Tunnelvision is built on this and Crossing the Line Twice.
  • Some have incorrectly called The Big Short the "diet Wolf of Wall Street". Although it does touch upon the same topics of greed and corporate corruption, it does so in a more matter-of-fact (some would even say educational) manner. That doesn't make it any less of a dark comedy though — it's about the 2008-09 financial crisis. You'll never find a more darkly funny (and accurate) description of CDOs.
  • The Double is set in a noir, absurd world. The film is about a man's life falling apart, but it comes with a healthy dose of comedy.
  • Master and Commander has a darkly funny moment after Hollom, shunned as a "Jonah", has taken his own life. During his funeral service, Aubrey is handed a to the book of Jonah, earning the responsible party a very dirty look.
  • The occasional humour in Godzilla (2014) is usually based around this. After the presence of the Muto become blindingly obvious, the media encourages people not to panic, and to evacuate in an orderly fashion. The next shot shows hundreds of cars either piled-up or in traffic, many of which are off-road as a way to sidestep said traffic, along with a plane that got hit by an EMP.
    • As the female MUTO destroys Vegas and officers look on in horror, Elvis Presley's Devil in Disguise plays cheerfully in the background.
    • The fight in Honolulu.
    Sam: Look, Mommy! Dinosaurs!
  • The film adaptation of Gone Girl includes some good examples, most notably Amy shaking the blood off her hair after murdering Desi, then wiping her nose.
    James: My wife says he's a killer.
    Rhonda: Well, if Tiffany says.
  • Pretty much all of the humor in Edge of Tomorrow features the death of the protagonist in one horrible manner or another, as he's stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in the middle of a war. If the enemy doesn't kill him, the Action Girl he's working with is shooting him in the head to reset the loop.
  • You're Next is a Black Comedy Slasher Movie, where nothing the killers do goes according to plan.
  • Pretty Maids All in a Row, a high school Sex Comedy in which the awkward teen just wants to get laid, preferably with his Hot Teacher. If only if it weren't for the pesky Serial Killer upsetting things at high school.
  • It's a Disaster! is set around a group of eight bickering over their relationship problems. And then a terrorist attack occurs nearby...
  • Mortal Transfer "You have a real body. All I have is this doll."
  • Lethal Tender has a scene where one of the mooks drags out a dead technician and pantomimes his corpse in front of hostages.
  • Swiss Army Man involves a corpse whose farts are powerful enough to use him as a jetski, and whose erections are used as a compass.
  • Vulgar tells the story of a birthday party clown piecing his life back together after getting gang-raped. While ostensibly comedic, the rape itself is not played as a joke.
  • We're No Angels runs on this. This is most notable in one sequence based on Murder by Inaction when the Asshole Victim has claimed a cage that he thinks contains stolen store merchandise but in fact contains a poisonous snake named Adolphe. The three Anti-Hero convicts decide to rush in and warn him, then spend a while deciding who should do it, going so far as to cut cards. When Humphrey Bogart's character goes in, he ambles over to the door, then stops, goes back to the table, and claims to have forgotten what he wanted to warn the Jerkass about, which Peter Ustinov's character explains it to him as slowly as humanly possible. Eventually he does get around to opening the door:
    Ustinov: You didn't tell him?
    Bogart: He knows already.
  • To the Bone isn't afraid to make jokes about eating disorder behaviors and other material that may disturb some but be relatable/humorous to those who have actually suffered from eating disorders.
  • Wild Wild West: During the slaughter of General Mc Grath's soldiers, Miss Lippenreader uses a pair of bionoculars to observe their deaths. The incredibly blasé tone she uses to express their horrified last words is unintentionally hilarious.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Thor and Rocket Raccoon talk about all the friends and loved ones Thor has lost because of Thanos. It’s a very somber and serious moment... and then Thor mentions Thanos murdering Loki and awkwardly confesses that Loki has been “dead” quite a few times. But it seems like he’s dead for reals this time. Probably. Especially silly because Thanos himself had made a very similar observation at the start of the movie, whilst committing the murder in question.
  • In Deadly Advice, a woman living under the thumb of her overbearing mother starts hallucinating that the ghosts of six of Britain's most infamous murderers are giving her advice. This advice generally amounts to Murder Is the Best Solution. She then begins to put this advice into practice.
  • In Pokémon Detective Pikachu, The whole interrogation with Mr. Mime, which quickly escalates into Tim miming a very sinister interrogation technique.
  • James Gunn's second film, Super, mixes tragedy and dark comedy all throughout the film until the last 15 minutes where it becomes more of an action drama.


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