* The Darkest Hour (2011)
Excruciating. I was originally intrigued by this one based on the involvement of Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch and Day Watch, Russian-language vampire epics, both terrific) in the producer’s chair and Chris Gorak, an amazing art director with a string of visually stunning home runs in Minority Report, Fight Club, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Tombstone under his belt, taking a turn in the director’s chair. What I didn’t expect was this hunk of unwatchable shite.
Nearly everything about The Darkest Hour is an abject disaster – the script, the score, the direction, the cast, the effects, the invisible aliens, the awkward pacing, the awful attempts at humour, Emile Hirsch, endless gaping holes in continuity and logic, the ending (which horrifyingly eludes to a possible sequel), the cinematography, the lighting, the wasted Moscow setting and the utter, overriding stupidity of the entire enterprise…. and Emile Hirsch.
There is but a single reason to waste any time whatsoever on this film and that’s to watch world class mathlete Max Minghella scurry about. He runs like a girl crossed with a crab, his gait a weird mix of Lou Chaney Sr.’s sideways horror shuffle coupled with a Martin Short/Ed Grimley prance…. and it’s quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve seen in film this year. While clearly unintentional, this is the highlight of an otherwise miserable film experience. Even the poster has Minghella (on the left, above, yellow arrow) looking like he’s about to fall over. John Cleese would be proud. Minghella makes Woody Allen look like Dolph Lundgren by comparison.
Avoid this one if at all possible, unless you’re intrigued by the bizarre Minghella interpretive-dance running style and want to see it for yourself. It’s almost worth the price of admission.