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.
★★★★ 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.
★★★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 Serge (Hunter) The Movie Guy on Letterboxd
This is the better version of Elephant.
Even the final shot of the film is the exact same.
I'm obsessed with the mental condition of human beings. Although this film doesn't go that deep into the subject matter, it does in fact show how we act on the surface.
I understand some of the hate for this, but I find it fascinating.
★★★½ review by jeremyfizzy on Letterboxd
"... I think that he's missed out on relationships his whole life."
Almost like a student-film, made by somebody who really admires Terrence Malick (especially post-Tree of Life). Oh, and definitely Taxi Driver too - but don't we all? It's manipulative as hell, but I still managed to love some of it. Maybe the reason I enjoyed it as much as I did is because of how polarizing it is. The reasons I liked it are the same reasons somebody may hate it, and why most people do. For that reason, I couldn't really recommend this to anybody. So much of it doesn't work; I could make a much stronger argument against this film than I could for it. But its highs are so high, I'm willing to partially ignore the lows surrounding them. There's excellence scattered throughout, and moments that seem like they were made just for me, but it's too messy to really love. What a shame it's not as great as it could be.
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