Monday, July 04, 2016

Movie Review - Dark Places

Dark Places (2015)
Starring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stall, Tye Sheridan, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Drea de Matteo
Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner
***This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime***

Gone Girl is perhaps my favorite film of the decade thus far -- a brilliant Hitchcockian piece of cinema crafted with a deft hand from director David Fincher and a biting screenplay from Gillian Flynn adapting her own novel.  So, when I saw that another novel of Flynn's was getting a feature film adaptation, I had to check it out.  Disappointingly, there was a reason for Dark Places to get an extremely limited release last summer as writer-director Gilles Paquet-Brenner is unable to create any modicum of suspense with his story or direction thereof.

When Libby Day was eight years old, she saw her mother and sisters be brutally murdered in their Kansas house.  Libby's testimony put her brother (Tye Sheridan as a youth, Corey Stall as an adult) behind bars for the crime, but thirty years later, an adult Libby (Charlize Theron) is compelled to reexamine the murders thanks to a young true crime "enthusiast" (Nicholas Hoult), realizing that her memories may not be accurate depictions of that horrific day.

Ultimately, Dark Places fails at creating a compelling storyline.  At its center, Charlize Theron's Libby lacks the emotional gravitas to be placed front and center due not so much to Theron's performance, but moreso because of the character's forlorn and malaise-filled life.  Sure, Libby has certainly been through a lot and has every right to lead a depressing life given her past, but her journey becomes tiresome rather quickly and lacks a payoff that excites.  The twisted humor and sensibility that runs rampant through Gone Girl and elevates it beyond the typical "thriller" is nonexistent here.  Instead, we're treated to a bland story with even blander characters and even blander twists and turns.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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