Title – Dark Places (2015)
Director – Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah’s Key)
Cast – Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Chloe Grace Moretz
Plot – As a young girl Libby Day (Theron) witnessed the brutal murders of her mother and two sisters, her testimony at trial implicating her brother Ben (Sheridan and later Stoll) as the culprit for the killings. Now in her 30’s Libby finds herself once more looking into the case after being contacted by Lyle Wirth (Hoult) a member of a group who dedicate themselves to solving murder cases.
“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it”
Review by Eddie on 4/11/2015
Last year David Fincher delivered a pinpoint accurate adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling book Gone Girl, a thriller that was both well designed, well-acted and perfectly constructed in its adapting of Flynn’s source writing and was a break out hit the world over. Gone Girl as a film then is everything that Dark Places isn’t.
Studios were undoubtedly clambering to secure rights to Flynn’s books once they found themselves on bestselling lists and after the success of Gone Girl at the cinema and on face value Dark Places seems like another sure fire hit. There’s dark tones everywhere you look from the Satanism themes, the struggling family murdered in cold blood, a kill club that get their kicks from solving crimes and front and centre Charlize Theron’s Libby Day, the grown up survivor of the family murder that gives a testimony that imprisoned her older brother for the crime but in a convoluted story that seemingly worked quite well in book format gets lost in a shoddily edited and unveiling cinematic narrative.
Much of the films failings can be placed squarely at the feet of director Paquet-Brenner who unlike Fincher seems to lack any single amount of vision for this event. Proceedings meander along but there’s never an energy to this tale, revelations come and go yet you’re left anticipating the film kicking into another gear only to find by the time the credits role it never once threatened to breakout. Much of the film fails unequivocally and is saved only by a decent Theron turn as the feisty Libby and some nice support from Tye Sheridan as the young Ben Day and Corey Stoll as the older incarnation. Other performers in the piece get lost in a mistreated retelling of the source material with yet another OTT turn from Chloe Grace Moretz front and centre in this aspect.
Uninvolving, lacking any energy and most tellingly just downright boring, Dark Places barely feels like it belongs in the league of cinematic thrillers and in the end comes off as a cheap and nasty TV movie that is notched up a peg on the ratings scale thanks to some Hollywood talent that deserve better material to work with.
2 sacrificial cows out of 5