Darkon is an award-winning feature-length documentary film that follows the real-life adventures of the Darkon Wargaming Club in Baltimore, Maryland, a group of fantasy live-action role-playing (LARP) gamers.
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★★★½ review by Jeff on Letterboxd
Rewatched because I thought I didn't remember it very well. Was only kind of true.
A large part of the documentary deals with the internal politics of the game/fantasy world of Darkon. And while it's slightly amusing listening to these people talk entirely in super dramatic speeches, it's about as entertaining as exposition in any other fantasy movie (i.e. boring). The film is far more interesting when it's delving into the participants' real lives and why they are so devoted to this other life they have created for themselves.
Despite my misgivings toward the fantasy aspects of Darkon, the final battle is absolutely amazing. The filmmakers pulled out all the stops to make a bunch of grown men hitting each other with rubber swords look epic as fuck: swooping crane shots, slo-mo, steadicam, slowed frame rates ... it's really phenomenal.
★★★★★ review by Cameron Croston on Letterboxd
The sword, the shield, and the American dream.
★★★★ review by Joshua Hoover on Letterboxd
"Everybody wants to be a hero, and in everyday life, most of the time you don't get to be the hero."
A terrific comedy action documentary.
★★★★ review by jesse hicks on Letterboxd
this is a great documentary about live action role players inhabiting the world of Darkon near Baltimore, Maryland. very sad
★★★★ review by Etoad75 on Letterboxd
Some people will watch this and spend their whole time laughing at the dork in chainmail with padded swords; I confess to doing that a bit, but mainly aimed at those who take it so danged seriously that they can't separate relationships between characters in the game from relationships with the people playing the characters in real life. At the same time, the film shows multiple people who have used the game of Darkon as a way of improving their social skills in a way that benefits them in the real world, and it's much harder to laugh this hobby off when taken in that light. Either way, a fascinating film.
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