Directed by Tim Sutton
Dark Night enigmatically unfolds over the course of a lazy summer day, as it traces the events leading up to a mass shooting in a suburban multiplex. Abandoning the narrative confines of the true crime genre, the story is told through fragmented moments from the lives of several characters, whose fates are tragically intertwined. As the sky grows darker, the placid surface of daily life becomes disturbed by a lurking and inevitable horror.
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★★★★ review by Alex Kolpan on Letterboxd
Dark Night has one of the strangest tone's I've ever seen for a movie. The way Tim Sutton plays with narrative structure and atmosphere is equally hypnotic / weirdly relaxing as it is slightly unsettling, which is a pretty hard feat to pull off. I've heard people complain that this movie is rather insensitive, exploitative, and lacking empathy but I don't really see it that way. The audience succumbs to the same sort of isolation and alienation the characters feel, and there's a strange presence of battling intimacy and distance that allows for an emotional and spatial dynamic that intrigued me quite a bit. I remember all the faces in this movie, the souls of the people in Dark Night. I feel similarly to their fleeting and floating lives and I think others do to, though it's probably hard to admit.
This movie isn't just about Aurora (although it was influenced by it(also why is no one mentioning the reference to the Lafayette shooting that happened??)), it's about the state of America and the ever lurking presence of guns within the American landscape. I don't think this movie would really work in another country, simply given the insane statistics of shooting massacres within the last decade in America.
So much alienation can lead to dark places and sadly we live in country where we are more disconnected than ever. Maybe it's just the cinematography but theres a strange ethereal beauty that exists after the completion of this movie, that at least for me, allows me to greater appreciate the life I have and find subtleties in the nuances of life. Life is fragile, and sometimes it's nice to be reminded of that, in order to fully grasp the beauty within the confines of an often inconsequential existence.
★★★½ review by Jerome1994 on Letterboxd
I'm going to say this right now, the movie is definitely not for everyone, it's very slow moving and actually pretty depressing. The movie for the most part succeeded of what I wanted it to be, but it does fall towards the ending. But overall it's really not bad at all, but definitely keep in mind what you are getting into before viewing.
★★★★ review by Ludvig Gur on Letterboxd
AFI FEST DAY #1
When I asked director Tim Sutton after the screening of this film, if his intention with Dark Night was to play with the audience, he smiled and replied yes. The movie is incredibly intense and painful to watch although almost nothing happens in it.
The story follows several teenagers during a normal day of their lives. The characters are well portrayed throughout, which helps in creating a great atmosphere. Sutton's choice of shooting locations is excellent and doesn't hurt either. Dark Night is a film with realistic characters, conversations, events and finally feelings.
Similarly to Elephant, most people will probably find Dark Night appealing as it is loosely inspired by the massacre that occured in Colorado in 2012 during a The Dark Knight Rises screening. However, if the massacre is all you want to see, you will be disappointed. This film dives deep into the human mind and our needs. It is slow-paced but for a good and artistic reasons.
The cinematography is great, the acting feels real and the script works well. I hope that more people will see this film! It is as shocking as it is beautiful.
★★★★ review by Jacob Zembower on Letterboxd
Though similar to Elephant in form and tone, Tim Sutton's Dark Night is entirely it's own vision (and not quite the masterpiece that Elephant was).
As cinema, this is a hypnotic and haunting experience. Appropriately raising questions and speculation but never hinting at any answers or closure. The truth is we'll never truly have the answers for why these senseless acts of mass violence occur, we can only make up our own constantly shifting opinion.
Dark Night will be too little for most viewers, or pointlessly pretentious to others. It's still one-of-a-kind, and visually gorgeous. Aided by Maica Armata's spare music, popping up throughout like mournful echoes from another realm.
Dark Night may lack a certain cathartic emotional punch, and it isn't always quite as successful in what it aims to achieve. But it remains a singular experience that ultimately lingers in the mind.
★★★★★ review by Japeman on Letterboxd
BAMcinemaFEST 2016 Film #4 - Closing Night Film
Life got in the way and I only got around to 4 of the 10 movies I planned to see at BAMcinemaFEST this year but of the four, this Malickian meditative take on disaffected youth, hookah-smoking preteens, gun violence in America and the infamous Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Massacre during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" that forever changed how and why we go to the movies, was by far the best.
A subtle look at all of those aforementioned things that manages to treat the complex and sensitive subject matter in the best way possible.
Filled with red herrings (who IS the killer? Does it even matter?) and an overall sense of dread and unease, it made me feel as paranoid as I usually do when I go to the movies in a post-Aurora America but did it in a cathartic way.
Tim Sutton is still a director to watch.
What a way to end this festival!
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