DIRECTED BY: Chris Gorak
WRITTEN BY: Jon Spaihts
STARRING: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Max Minghella
RATING: 2 stars
I don't think I've ever seen a film that made less sense than The Darkest Hour. I have to say though, I enjoyed this film a lot, not because it's good – because it is in fact quite terrible – but because it had so many unintentional laughs. It felt, at times, like I was watching a spoof “aliens take over the world” film. If only that were the case...
The Darkest Hour tells the story of entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) who visit Moscow to sell their new website but are cheated out of the deal by Swedish businessman Skylar (Joel Kinnaman). Sean and Ben go to a nightclub, where they bump into Skylar, as well as tourists Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor). Suddenly, invisible aliens invade the city, turning any humans that come into contact with them into dust. After hiding in a storeroom for days, the group decides to make their way to the American embassy and try to survive long enough to be rescued by authorities.
There were two reasons why I wanted to see this film. The first is that it's set in Moscow and I really, really love Russia. It's an amazing country and a Hollywood film that was going to depict Russia in a non-Cold War way was surely going to be a nice change, right? Unfortunately not. Russians are still insultingly depicted as caricature knuckleheads with big guns. The second reason I wanted to see this film is because Hirsch is a great young actor. Unfortunately, not even he could deliver the lame lines with conviction. The rest of the cast were also less than average and the 3D effects were not as good as they should have been. As for director Chris Gorak, better known as an art director in films like Fight Club, I know he had a small budget, but he really failed on just about every level with this film.
If the bad plot isn't enough to put you off this film, the dialogue will. With lines like “They came here with a plan” and “What's the dress code for the end of the world?” it's no wonder half the cinema full of people were groaning during the screening. Quite simply, the script was very badly written, and without a half decent script, a film has no chance at success. It makes me wonder how so many people could have read this screenplay and not thought it needed some tweaking. You have a lot to answer for, Jon Spaihts. I'm very worried now about what he might have done with Prometheus, which comes out later this year.
The only reason this film didn't get one star from me is because I laughed so much I actually enjoyed myself. Unlike some awful films where I have been bored or frustrated by the lack of plot, I was giggling so much during this film. It ends in a way that its set up for a sequel, as if audiences might actually engage with this ridiculous film. But you know what? Part of me hopes there is an equally awful sequel. I haven't laughed that much during a film in a while.