Monday, May 28, 2018

Review of IN DARKNESS: Interesting Innovation

May 25, 2018

Sofia was a blind pianist who heard a woman falling to her death from the room above her own. The victim turned out to be her neighbor and acquaintance Veronique, who just so happened to be the daughter Milos Radic, a Serbian businessman currently in the news for being accused to be a war criminal. Veronique's killer Marc and his ruthless sister Alex go after Sofia to keep her from being a witness. However, Sofia was not as innocent or helpless as she would seem.

When I first heard the radio ads for this, I thought the film was a horror, but it turned out to be a multi-layered thriller. The script, co-written by real-life couple director Anthony Byrne and star Natalie Dormer, started things going very slowly, getting us to feel the slow paced world of its blind protagonist Sofia. The way it was built up you'd think the story would predictably go one way. However, midway, the film sped up and went totally another unexpected direction. 

Natalie Dormer had been receiving critical acclaim for her various performances throughout her career on stage and on TV. Recently, she is probably best known as Lady Margaery Tyrell in "Game of Thrones". Earlier, she was Anne Boleyn on "The Tudors."  As Sofia, Dormer had an acting challenge to be blind, play professional piano, and still be capable of handling herself during action scenes. She did very well with the demands of her role.

Ed Skrein once played Daario Naharis but only in the third season until he was replaced unceremoniously in the fourth season by Michiel Huisman. He had the dark look and the action skills needed for the part of Marc, but was lacking in screen presence. On the other hand, Joely Richardson played Marc's sister Alex with a sense of over-the-top hysterics that sort of clashed with this film's mood. But, she would steal every scene she was in.  

Model Emily Ratajkowski gained major spotlight attention when she starred in the music video of Robin Thicke and Pharell's number one hit song "Blurred Lines" in 2013. Her exotic looks served her good stead in the mysterious femme fatale role of Veronique, that did not really demand anything much more than her beauty. Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet projected effectively the sinister and perverted vibe of his character Milos Radic. 

Director Anthony Byrne could have filmed this in a totally B-action movie fashion. However, he elected to inject some art house visual and auditory sensibilities into his imagery. This was especially true during the initial slow phase of the story telling. However, when the whole tone of the story shifted into higher gear in the second half, there would be less of these contemplative moments. The camerawork would go into more familiar espionage mode, like the Jason Bourne films. 

The slow pace at the beginning may be off-putting for some. However, the unexpected twists midway in the story made for an interesting innovation from the usual. 6/10. 


  1. Successfully expands from park to world. Truly, it's a Jurassic world after all. Even though Steven Spielberg didn't direct it, he's still the executive producer. The visuals were thrilling and spectacular and so was the plot line. As the time passes on, the visuals get more artistic and realistic. This trilogy series never wears out it's welcome, I wonder what they will think of next… Jurassic Space? I hope this film continues to receive critical acclaim as it's a dazzling popcorn thriller and it's emotionally and visually exciting.
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