Maybe its just me, but i found it quite ironic that a film titled ‘The Darkest Hour’ would involve humanity being invaded by what appears to be converging electrical lights. With that trivial bit of cristicism out of the way, i can certainly say that i did enjoy ‘The Darkest Hour’ much more than i expected to. ‘The Darkest Hour’ is by no means a great film, but neither is it a horrible one. One thing i felt personally hurt the film, was the absence of anything new or original in the field. ‘The Darkest Hour’ follows the same basic premise and execution as most invasion genre films. A group of people are tossed together in a strange place during an apocalyptic event. As per usual in this type of film, the characters have to work together and figure out a way to survive while trying to get where they are going. Naturally, obstacles, intensity and bright lights follow.
While the film didnt bring much new to the typical invasion ordeal, it also didnt bore you with the same old nonsense over and over. One thing i felt benefited the film, was the moments where things calm down for the moment, and you can start to see some semblence of a relationship begin to film between the characters. While some in the group may dislike certain individuals more than others it becomes clear that whether they get along or not, they stand a better chance of survival with all of them, and each member of the group has a role to play, things they are able to assist with or that benefits the group that other members lack.
Sadly, the biggest thing that hurt this film was the two-dimensional characters in the film. As much as they try to build up the back storys on the characters, i never truly felt anything for any of them. I found myself not caring which characters lived or died, mostly due to the fact it constantly felt like a bunch of the same people interacting. The start of the film begins to build insight into showcasing the differences in the characters, but when everything comes together and the invasion begins, all of the characters seemed to merge into the same fashion. It felt like one of those films where the actors were just trying to cash that check. That is dissapointing considering the film has at least a few strong performers in it. I think Emile Hirsch is a generally a great actor overall, but unfortunately he seemed to just merge in with everyone else in the general performances of the film. The only person i truly felt brought something different to the film was Joel Kinnaman (recently seen as Detective Holder on the US version of the tv series ‘The Killing’) who i thought did exceptionally well with what he was given. I was not familiar with Kinnaman until watching ‘ The Killing’ but he is definately one who has begun to catch my eye.
The film does manage to keep you entertained, and the idea of something invading us that we cannot see, yet is obviously of some kind of electrical nature is helpful in keeping things moving nicely and instituting at least some form of orginality, however scarce. Certain scenes in the film played exceptionally well, for instance a scene involving a deserted street, a dog and a lone police vehicle, i felt was one of the best scenes in the film. Unfortunately the scenes of that beauty and edge were not constant enough to keep things going at a steady pace, and the sporaticness in which things go from calm to crazy are absurdly ovbious. You can (in the first instance of each setup) see exactly where that scene is bound to go by the time it has played out.
Now for those of you out there into the whole new 3D scene (which i must admit, i myself am loving) i can say that the film had some very nice 3D in it. The scenery involving the eery emptiness of Russia was very nicely complimented by the depth in the 3D which almost makes you feel as if you are standing at the edge of the street looking in. While the 3D in this film is actually quite good, i must also say that it is not a film that would be hurt in any means by being viewed in 2D.
Overall, ‘a fun popcorn invasion flick’ is the best way i can think of to describe this film. Dont go into ‘The Darkest Hour’ with high expectations. Dont go in expecting something along the lines of the brilliant Russian film ‘Night Watch’ just because it had people involved with that backing it, and you will probably enjoy it. Its fun, entertaining and has some beautiful scenery as you follow the characters throughout a deserted Russia. It is not by any means an exceptional film, yet compared to the majority of the films out nowadays, you could definately pick something alot worse to go see over the weekend.