DVD: Dark Night (2016)
“On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms. Twelve people were killed and 70 others were injured. The incident was the deadliest shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. The sole assailant, James Eagan Holmes, was arrested in his car outside the cinema minutes later. Prior to the shooting, Holmes rigged his apartment with homemade explosives, which were defused by a bomb squad a day after the shooting”.
The above quote from Wikipedia gives you the basis for Dark Night, though don’t expect an insightful documentary with survivors and onlookers recounting what happened, or indeed a dramatisation recreating the events of that horrific evening. Dark Night tells the story of 6 random people in the day leading up to the shooting, and how this disparate group all congregated at the same place at midnight for what was an unforgettable evening…for all the wrong reasons.
Writer/director Tim Sutton has certainly tried to put his mark all over Dark Night with a distinctive style that may or may not appeal to viewers. Eschewing a more traditional narrative, he lets the banality of the day show that these were people just like you and I; spending the hours watching TV, going for a walk, taking photo’s with their phones, etc. Unfortunately, real life just isn’t interesting and we tend to watch movies to get away from it, not be reminded of it.
Long lingering shots of people saying and doing nothing began to have me contemplating my navel less than 10 minutes into this short 80 minute feature. The lack of dialogue and action may well be a fair representation of what those people did on that fateful day, but it sure as hell doesn’t make for any sort of stimulating entertainment, and despite spending an overly long (at least it seems overly long with nothing going on) amount of time with these people, you never really get to know them, which (as harsh as this may sound) leaves you with little empathy for their fate.
The events of that evening and other similar atrocities certainly don’t need glamourising, but Dark Night seems pointless on many levels.
If you’re the type of person who likes to sit at a cafe and ‘people watch’, then this may well be worth you giving it a try. For everyone else, watch the Dark Knight Rises again and raise a glass to those who lost their lives that night.
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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Thunderbird Releasing.