Film Review: Darkest Hour

2011 action/sci-fi: Directed by Chris Gorak; starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, and Max Minghella. [rated PG-13] Stars given: 1.5 /5

 

How often does beauty and death come hand in hand? For a film like “Darkest Hour”, the beauty comes from the SFX of interstellar, energy beings… while “death” is the film itself.

This film offers very little in the way of character or plot investment; the main characters are immediately paired up with their perfectly equal (and opposite gendered) companions, the antagonist is immediately unlikeable with no redeeming qualities, and it only takes 19 minutes for the plot to come around to its main point. Sure, in a survival sci-fi flick, you want the plot to come to its point quickly so all the action can start happening, but that is where this film falls down: there is very little action. Energy beings come down from the sky, drift up to people, and devour their mass for energy in a quick swirl of dust. If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to assume this was a 1970s’ film (decade of killer tomatoes and giant rabbits) with improved graphics.

That cover isn’t helping their case very much.

Even worse is that there are very little secrets to be revealed. If you have seen the trailer for “Darkest Hour”, then you’ve really seen all that there is to be seen and aren’t missing out on much.

What bothered me the most was the acting, especially how emotionally disturbed the group would be when they found scenes of abandoned cars and crashed planes. There was no blood, no bodies, just a little pile of dust; so why act as if you are going to throw up when there is nothing disgusting to see? In addition to overdone emotions, the characters would suddenly spout convenient pieces of scientific information whenever needed and then shrug it off when asked how they knew the facts— “I dunno… ‘Shark Week’?!” –before quickly and aggressively changing the conversation. Information came way, way too easily, leaving almost nothing for the characters to actually figure out on their own.

Poor acting, a slowly wandering set of characters, and little-to-no action make “Darkest Hour” a big miss in my book. Frankly, the only GOOD thing that they did was make the ending “closed”; leaving room for a possible sequel, but still left the film feeling complete if there wasn’t one. If anyone asks you if you want to watch this with them, find something big and metal to hide behind in order to avoid this film!

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