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DARKEST HOUR, THE, 3D

SYNOPSIS:
Internet entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) are on their way to Moscow to make a lucrative deal from their new website but are swindled by Swedish businessman Skylar (Joel Kinnaman) who has stolen their ideas. Sean and Ben head for the nearest nightclub, where they meet Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor), tourists en route to Nepal. Suddenly the club and Moscow itself becomes a scene of terror when invisible aliens invade, shredding humans into dust. After hiding from the initial attack in a storeroom, the group travels across the city during the night, aware that the aliens can be detected through the city's power supply.

Review by Louise Keller:
The setting in deserted Moscow is the biggest point of difference about this ho-hum end of the world scenario in which the invading aliens are invisible. Also invisible is the much needed tension to give this apocalyptic sci-fi action thriller some scares and impetus. Instead of jumping in my seat from fright, I found myself yawning. Without tension or scares, the film falls flat and even the 89 minutes running time drags.

There's a strange electrical storm brewing as internet entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) fly to Moscow, where they hope to make their fortune from their new website concept. But on arrival, they find their concept has been poached by a Swedish businessman Skylar (Joel Kinnaman). Why Skylar is from Sweden is a mystery. For Sean and Ben, what else is there to do but head to a nightclub where the beautiful people hang out and drown their sorrows in vodka. That's where they meet two pretty tourists Anne (Rachael Taylor) and Natalie (Olivia Thirlby), who are on their way to Nepal for a photo shoot. Their small talk is cut short when the lights go out and eerie dancing light shapes descend from the night skies, shredding humans into dust.

The early scenes when the deserted streets of Moscow start to light up eerily as the invisible aliens trigger electrical devices like lights and cell phones have promise. The second part of the film is less promising, when the group encounters a curious group of Russians, including an eccentric inventor (Dato Bakhtadze) whose microwave stun gun becomes the best form of defence.

But Jon Spaihts' screenplay (his first) never makes the most of any of the opportunities the premise offers and before long the sparking lights and strange shapes become monotonous. The dialogue is atrocious with lines like 'Oh my god,', 'holy sh*t', 'it's not your fault' and 'what's the dress code for the end of the world?'

Better known as an art director (Fight Club, Minority Report), Chris Gorak's direction never inspires but the film looks fine with stark contrasts between the drab Moscow backdrops and the fiery special effects. The cast does the best it can with the material at hand, but the darkest hour is also the dullest.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

DARKEST HOUR, THE, 3D (M)
(US, 2011)

CAST: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thrilby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Ozerova

PRODUCER: Timur Bekmambetov, Tom Jacobson,

DIRECTOR: Chris Gorak

SCRIPT: John Spaihts

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Scott Kevan

EDITOR: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly, Fernando Villena, Doobie White

MUSIC: Tyler Bates

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Valeri Viktorov

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20TH Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 19, 2012

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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