Starring: Roger Allam, Emily Berrington, Rod Glenn
Director: John Jencks
Running Time: 89 mins
The Hippopotamus is a British film about a former poet who travels to a country manor in order to explain a series of miracles.
Without doubt a witty take on English farce and the pretences of the world of art and literature, The Hippopotamus has a lot of energy and ideas behind it, but it’s a film that never really manages to bring those to the surface in particularly spectacular fashion.
That doesn’t mean that The Hippopotamus is a particularly bad film, but it’s a movie that rather lacks the charisma of its cast and crew, and struggles to really bring out much in the way of captivating themes from its story.
On the plus side, the film counts on the strong performance of lead actor Roger Allam to anchor the stuffy English world which it seeks to satirise, and it’s Allam’s charisma as a jaded, alcoholic writer which really strikes up the most laughs in The Hippopotamus.
For the most part, I didn’t find myself laughing all too much in this film, partly due to a mixture of the film’s less-than-sharp screenplay and the fact that there’s little more to it than the surface story, which I know for a fact isn’t the intention.
Lacking the sharp humour and insightful drama that its story seems to promise early on, The Hippopotamus is often far more of a frustrating watch than an entertaining one – and never really endears itself as a quirky English comedy, nor a particularly sharp drama. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.1 overall.