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Up There (2012)

Caring in the afterlife is a dead-end job

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 80 minutes

US Certificate: Not Yet Rated UK Certificate: Not Yet Rated

What happens when you die? Zam Salim’s ingenious little comedy may just have the answer. Up There follows Martin (Gorman) who died after being knocked down by a car and now roams the earth working as a ‘carer’, welcoming new arrivals to the afterlife. Martin longs to get up to get Up There and a few days before a now-or-never assessment from the gatekeeper/his supervisor (Morton), he manages to lose one of his clients (Morgan) thanks to the talkative, insensitive Rash (Hamdouchi). The two face a race against time to get the runner back to London in time for the assessment or Martin will face an eternity in purgatory.

This short-and-sweet comedy drama is a little gem. At times it’s deep and dramatic with truly sympathetic characters and a number of unsettling backstories but most of the time we are treated to the blackest, most sarcastic comedy dealing with everything to do with death. The consistently funny opening voiceover and many of the droll one-liners are delivered completely deadpan, especially by the excellent Burn Gorman, whilst Rash’s verbal diarrhea provides a neverending soundtrack that surprisingly doesn’t get tiresome. This is as close to real British humour as you can get.

There are also lots of little touches to make this more than a one-joke movie, like the bickering couple meeting in the afterlife after one killed the other, the inability to touch anything and the male characters using the most of their invisibility to follow their instincts. The understated action on screen is nicely complemented by a gentle, otherworldly soundtrack that creates an eerie, lethargic atmosphere. Up There not going to go down in the annals of comedy classics but it is a really enjoyable, original film that’s hopefully going to get around a bit.

It's Got: Excellent British humour - very dark and sarcastic, nice complementary characters and performances

It Needs: To be seen if you can, a joke from me about this being the epitome of 'deadpan humour'


An original comedy gem about the afterlife that’s both darkly sarcastic and moving. As close to real British humour as you can get.