Cast: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor
Director: Chris Gorak
Now showing at: Walmer Park and The Boardwalk.
The Darkest Hour is a story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack. The classic beauty of Moscow is juxtaposed against mind-blowing special effects made even more spectacular in 3D, but unfortunately, that is pretty much all there is to it, and even the effects lost some appeal towards the end.
The story starts off well enough, as we join the software engineering duo Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) who have flown halfway across the world to Moscow, only to find their Swedish partner, Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) has cut them out of the deal. Drowning their sorrows at a club, the two meet up with two holidaying teenage girls Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor). Things seem great until, all of a sudden, the power goes out and strange lights start falling from the sky.
If you’ve seen the trailer (above) then you will know that the lights are in fact mean, invisible aliens out to annihilate all of humankind for our energy.
Yes you read that right, invisible aliens. Their presence only noticeable by their affect on various electrical equipment, such as causing lightbulbs to glow or car alarms to go off.
The next hour revolves around the daring duo, now joined by Skyler, the girls and a wide variety of two bit Russian cast members trying to evade the invisible aliens, while trying to make their way through a post apocalyptic Moscow to safety. Let’s just say that some of them don’t make it and literally disappear off the screen in a puff of smoke.
Effects wise the concept of an invisible alien was unique, and the way in which the use of depth and light really did add a nuance to the film that will be lost to 2D viewers. That said, the film was essentially a two trick pony, with the first being the disintegration of anything living that comes into contact with the aliens, and the second being the electrical, whiplike cord that seeks out lifeforms. By the time the third person is turned to dust, you’ve pretty much seen what there is to see and the effects grow a bit stale.
Perhaps the biggest let downs were the shockingly poor dialogue, the unbelievably bad acting and did I mention the shockingly poor dialogue?
For a film that I was looking forward to seeing, I was left feeling let down and more than a little disappointed.