Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Darkest Hour (2011)

There's a decent idea or two in The Darkest Hour. Indeed, there's a decent set-piece or two, and I enjoyed a fair bit of the movie. It kept me nicely entertained for about an hour or so. Unfortunately, that's only two thirds of the movie. The other half hour just doesn't do much at all, leading up to a grand finale that it's difficult to find exciting and enjoyable.

Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella play two young men who are in Moscow to try and get backing for their super duper app that they think will take the world by storm when a bunch of aliens land to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . take the world by storm. The lads end up accompanied by Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor and Joel Kinnaman as they try to stay alive and figure out how to fight back against an unseen enemy. Oh, that's right, these aliens are invisible, although their presence can be detected by electrical components (usually light bulbs, but sometimes phones and radios) that experience a power surge when they are nearby.

The screenplay by Jon Spaihts may be weak, laughably so at times, but it does what's needed to quickly sketch out the characters, sketch out the situation, and get everyone up to speed with the science being used throughout the movie (which I am assuming is movie science, as opposed to real science). In other words, it's capable enough, but lacking any decent dialogue that isn't exposition.

Director Chris Gorak has some fun, especially in one or two set-pieces that will remind viewers of how much better the movie could have been, and he certainly tries to keep everyone entertained with a mix of tension and spectacle. He may not succeed with the former aspect, but the spectacle works, whether it's on a large scale or just showing the aliens killing individual victims by making them dematerialise in a swirling cloud of pain and puzzlement.

Hirsch, Minghella, Thirlby and Taylor make for an okay band of survivors, with Kinnaman adding to the fun as someone who proves early on just how selfish he is. Veronika Vernadskaya joins them in the second half of the film, and there's a couple of good attempts to convince viewers that nobody is guaranteed to make it to the end credits, nobody is safe from the invisible invaders.

Dumb fun, that's all this is. I enjoyed it while it was on and I'd watch it again. But, then again, I'm easily pleased, so do bear that in mind.


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