Dark Night

Dark Night 2016 Spoiler Free Movie Review

Dark Night [2016] is a unique drama from writer/director Tim Sutton which follows a handful of unrelated individuals whose lives will inevitably collide at a movie theater where a shooting occurs.

Kaleidoscope of Characters. The film is built around the gimmick that it follows a handful of unrelated individuals through a day that leads them all to a local Cineplex where one of the characters will be a shooter. What the film accomplishes, however, is much more than how that sounds. As we jump from character to character, slowly piecing together our thoughts on these individuals and who they are, what they want, where they fault, we begin to notice a slight trend. These are people that all have what some might say are “red flags” to being someone who might commit a violent act such as a shooting. Going into this film knowing what it’s about, there’s a built-in mystery for the audience to figure out who will inevitably be the trigger puller. But what we find is a commentary on gun violence, and how our expectations and assumptions are never accurate or acceptable in regards to people we think might do such things.

Mesmerizing Colors. There’s no real structure or overarching narrative here. What we’re presented with are moments, or pieces of moments, bouncing from person to person. It’s a beautiful kind of meditation this film. Every shot is exceptionally lit and either perfectly aligned or uniquely framed. The colors are a mix between natural and yet having a pop to them that makes everything specifically beautiful. The unconventional framing and eye which the director has for each moment make it all the more hypnotic and mesmerizing. We have moments of characters simply taking selfies in the mirror, riding their skateboards, or standing in a pool. These are mundane and insignificant moments in an average day. Nothing exciting or interesting is happening. These are just people living. People being. The way it’s all presented, I could sit and watch a film like this endlessly poking in and out of an infinite number of lives.

Usurping Expectations. But it’s ultimately about gun violence, however, it’s a silent kind of meditation. We have an emotionally disconnected veteran with an impressive personal arsenal. A socially awkward first-person-shooter playing teenager who sees the world as bullshit. Young skater “punks” with dyed hair and piercings, too young to be smoking but passing cigarettes and vapes around regardless. Young women that just want to fit in or are obsessed with their image and distraught at their lack of success in modeling or acting. There are plenty of characters on display with something that makes you thing, “a would-be shooter would be like that, act like that, be interested in that, behave like that” etc. But you would be wrong, as society most always is. The film flips your expectations in almost every way. What you expect is a social study that will end in violence. What you get is a thoughtful, hypnotic piece of cinema that ends in quiet reverie.

Dark Night is a hypnotic piece of cinema that presents a sensitive subject with subdued beauty and thoughtfulness.