Movie review: Up There, starring Burn Gorman, Kate O’Flynn

Zam Salim, 80mins, 15

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The Independent Culture

I have loved Burn Gorman’s lugubrious clown’s face since first seeing him as Mr. Guppy in the BBC adaptation of Bleak House.

It’s a face well-suited to this whimsical Scottish comedy set in the afterlife. He plays Martin, a sad soul trapped in the humdrum bureaucracy of a dead-person office, his only ambition to go “up there”.

Instead, he’s deputed to go to the seaside town of Newport to collect a stray newcomer to the ranks of the dead. Writer-director Zam Salim and his cinematographer Ole Birkeland create an enthrallingly bleak scenario out of the coastal resort, heightening its  off-milk skies and austere sunlight.

But the film is hobbled by a script that’s not quite funny or surprising enough, and a performance of insufferable garrulity by Aymen Hamdouchi as a pest who battens on to the long-suffering Martin.