“The Show” is a movie that only Alan Moore is capable of. Moore is a very well known and infamous figure in the comic book world. Known for penning legendary graphic novels like “Watchmen,” he’s also notorious for being incredibly polarizing and opinionated about the comic book medium as a whole, as well as openly hating (and denouncing) anything and everything involving superheroes. “The Show” is a movie that combines a lot of ideas and themes that Moore mixes in to a confusing, but oddly entertaining genre entry.
Fletcher Dennis is a man of many talents, passports and identities who arrives in Northampton – a strange and haunted town in the heart of England as dangerous as he is. On a mission to locate a stolen artifact for his menacing client, Fletcher finds himself entangled in a twilight world populated with vampires, sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, noir private eyes, and masked avengers. He quickly sinks into a bizarre and delirious black hole, that is hidden just beneath the surface of this seemingly quiet town. Soon enough Fletcher discovers that dreams and reality have been blurred and there might no longer be a real world to go back to.
Much of “The Show” is left purposely ambiguous as Fletcher Dennis is in the real world something of an odd individual who, in another world, is a gumshoe who works within a stark noir landscape. Tom Burke stars with Siobhan Hewlett, Ellie Bamber, Sheila Atim, and Christopher Fairbank, respectively, spending much of his time investigating an incident that involved murder and a cover up. Fletcher begins dropping in and out of his own dream world to investigate the case, we’re led to the victim of the crime who is also dropping in and out of reality. Maybe she’s dead, maybe she’s stuck in purgatory, but when she meets Fletcher mid-way, “The Show” takes on such an interesting dimension.
A lot of “The Show” and its narrative is purposely bizarre and meant to confound us about what’s unfolding. Maybe Fletcher Dennis is drifting in and out his dream world, or maybe he’s dead along with all of the other characters that appear. When Fletcher begins investigating he’s led to a private eye that is really two children atop one another in a trench coat. When faced with the various informants, he meets a mystical club owner, and a clown that oddly resembles a rogue from a certain DC Comic book. Moore even makes his contempt for superheroes apparent once again, as the film’s masked hero really does nothing but sit at his computer as a voyeur and doing absolutely nothing to help Fletcher in his mission.
That said, Mitch Jenkins’ direction is fantastic, while the cast are top notch; this includes star Tom Burke and co-star Ellie Bamber. I also enjoyed the feature performance from Alan Moore. “The Show” might not be for everyone in the long run, as writer Moore conceives a movie that throws in many of his ideas, and themes, and obvious love for gumshoes like “The Spirit.” While so much of it works, while some of it processes as random, and obtuse for the sake of being obtuse. In either case, I had a good time, and it’s a cinematic oddity that I think deserves discovery and analyses.