Movies: The ultimate escape from violence.
It’s America and a few individuals are, well, living life. Some are happy, some aren’t, but there’s no denying that they’re all human beings just trying to get by in the world. And of course, all of these human beings lives come together in one fateful night where they decide that it’s time to go and check out the latest superhero flick, but while they’re doing this, they’re also in for an awful surprise. A very, very awful surprise.
It’s very hard to really get down to what Dark Night is about because, after all, it’s based on the Aurora Shootings from 2012. The title’s a dead giveaway of course, but also, the movie, right from the get-go, lets us know that this is going to be a dark, disturbing and rather unexpected tale into a few humans lives who we already know the end for; in a way, it’s even more depressing to watch, because no matter how happy these few lives may be, we all know the painful, tragic ends of them.
Does that make the movie better? Not really and it’s sort of an issue that Dark Night runs into throughout its very short and thin hour-and-a-half run-time.
It does deserve to be said that writer/director Tim Sutton has a clear idea for what he wants to do here and because of that, his vision is compelling, if a bit meandering. Rather than displaying a full-set of conventional story-lines, the movie sort of jumps around from story-to-story, at its own pace, by its rules, and without any real rhyme, or reason. And hell, half of the time, the movie isn’t even focusing in on the separate storylines, as much as it’s just focusing in on a single-shot of some inanimate object.
These are all made to have us thinking, like, for instance, what does it all mean? What is Sutton trying to tell us? That all our lives, while precious and full of its own little moments, both good and bad, is ultimately destined for disaster? Probably not, but it definitely feels like that, making the movie feeling, once again, depressing. And that’s sort of the point, too; that each and everyone of these people who were shot and killed in the theater that fateful night, were literally just looking to escape from their real lives and to be transported into a fake, magical and fun one, for two-hours, is even more upsetting.
After all, it’s what the movies were made for. Take that away from us, what good are they?
But still, Sutton’s film is much more of a tone-poem than anything else and it sort of works; it moves and meanders as much as it want and because of that, it can be interesting to see exactly where it goes. But there’s also that feeling that perhaps, just even maybe, Sutton isn’t really doing justice to the real-life victims or the tragedy that inspired it. By just jumping in on these few stories to see what’s up and continuing to move on, makes it not just feel like a missed-opportunity to have us understand more, but to also really dig in deep into some of these character’s lives. While they are no doubt fictional, they are still characters nonetheless and because of that, we’re meant to sit there, watch them, and study them, for all that they are.
Sutton doesn’t really do that and it feels odd. Of course, he is playing by his own rules, so the better for him, but for us, those watching, it can be a bit frustrating. Just when you think Sutton’s going to go somewhere the least bit mildly thrilling, he jumps away and focuses his attention on somewhere, or someone else. It should also be noted that the so-called “killer” in this movie is the one who seems to get the most focus, as we casually see him lose his s**t practically everywhere he goes and seem on the edge of breaking down. Of course, we know the end, but did we need to see the whole build-up to this monster? Sure, it’s disturbing, but what does it really tell us?
Consensus: Perhaps not the most conventional of movie-going experiences, Dark Night still aims at portraying the tragedy of the real-life events that inspired it and are somewhat successful.
6 / 10