In Darkness (2018) Movie Review
Written By: A.C.P
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director(s): Anthony Byrne
Writers(s): Anthony Byrne, Natalie Dormer
Producer(s):Anthony Byrne, Natalie Dormer, Ben Pugh, Adam Morane-Griffiths, Josh Varney
Date Released: May 25, 2018
Natalie Dormer as Sofia/ Balma
Ed Skrein as Marc
Emily Ratajkowski as Veronique
Neil Maskell as Oscar
Jan Bijvoet as Zoran
James Cosmo as Niall
Joely Richardson as Alexandra
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Sofia is a blind pianist who seems to live an uneventful life until she crosses paths with Veronique, her enigmatic neighbor at the apartment. Veronique is thrown from her window one night, and Sofia finds out that her departed acquaintance has planted a USB on her. This device proves to be a threat to the reputation of Zoran Zadic, who is Veronique’s father and a war criminal. This makes Sofia the target of dangerous figures, Zoran himself, and the siblings Niall and Alexandra, all of which have different motivations. Sofia’s own motivations are uncovered as she is after all connected to the Zadic family.
In Darkness is a mafia-political suspense with violence as its gore factor. Slaughter of families and children, grisly fight scenes, suicide and corpses at the morgue, and talks of rape, to be specific, make up the mature content of this movie—not to mention nudity and sexual scenes, as a warning for children. Deliberate torture, which abound in mafia types of movies, are minimized in this one, the only highlight being the brief abduction of Sofia and her captors breaking her fingers one by one to get her to surrender the USB.
The Grave Review
There are three things we can applaud In Darkness (2018) for: Its cast, especially lead actress Natalie Dormer, its dramatic cinematography, and its spellbinding use of auditory stimuli. The cinematography is undoubtly high-budgeted. Despite the overly convoluted plot which proves to be the movie’s downfall, the audience can enjoy the highly sensorial aspect of the film.
Natalie Dormer is a seasoned actress who can act all parts she’s given, body and soul. Even in silent scenes, her eyes speak volumes. The supporting cast are good, the troubled but exquisite Veronique with the outlandish accent, and Alexandra who has a natural espioage villain vibe. Just a meaning-laden conversation scene between Sofia and Veronique is a visual delight.
The sound design is the movie’s masterstroke. As Sofia is a professional pianist, the movie is a string of foreboding melodies and pulsing orchestral mixes even if she is not playing. Not only does this tactic emphasizes the redemption that music presents for Sofia, but it also slides the mood into a sinister yet sophisticated one. Yes, most films can do these musical scores, so In Darkness draws another card. It lifts the most mundane sounds we have placed in the backburner of our brains, one level of consciousness higher. And it feels strangely nobel, like tonic for the ears. To put the audienc in Sophia’s shoes, it amplifies the sound an expresso machine makes, the scraping of Sofia’s cane against the surfaces of road, tiles, and cement, up to the wheezing of machines. Ever heard of the now popular ASMR? Autonomous sensory meridian response, as the youtube creators call it, produces a “subjective experience of low-grade euphoria” through the use of ambient noises like manipulating different surfaces or fabric, crushing shells, crumpling paper, and the like. In Darkness has a similar effect, since Sofia has developed a higher sensitivity to sound to compensate her lack of sight. Even the visual effects support this mood, the cinematography is brooding, yet not too surreal.
For the foregoing reasons, In Darkness (2018) deserves a two and a half graves over five from Grave Reviews.
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