You are on top of a mountain, you can see a beautiful landscape, but suddenly you fall and tumble all the way to the bottom. In Darkness starts out on top but, by the end, it’s just a huddled, broken mess.
In Darkness follows blind pianist Sofia (Natalie Dormer) who hears her neighbour Veronique (Emily Ratajkowski) arguing with a man in her apartment and then falling out of her window. Did Veronique jump or was she pushed? Police investigate and find out Veronique is the daughter of Serbian war criminal Milos Radic (Jan Bijvoet). When questioned Sofia says nothing about the struggle she heard nor about knowing who Veronique really is. Is Sofia just minding her own business or is there much more to the story?
Could be intriguing, and it was in the beginning, but it quickly side-tracked into a bland mess of a feature that is trying way too hard to have mind-blowing plot twists and failing.
From the beginning we know Sofia is not just another blind piano player, she has nightmares about her past and is secretive enough for the audience to be suspicious of her. By the second half of the film, Sofia’s past is slowly revealed but, despite the filmmaker’s attempts, it does not achieve the gravity that it was intended to achieve. The pattern of un-mind-blowing plot twists continues until the very end of the film, when the most expected twist of all is revealed. The film’s plot also becomes too complicated and messy to the point where the audience does not even know what the film’s focus is and eventually do not even care. Moreover, In Darkness also mixes a multitude of clichés into its plot from “does losing one sense heighten the other?”, to an evil brother/sister duo.
The film was handsomely shot, with perfect symmetrical shots and colourful cinematography. As for the acting, Natalie Dormer is the only reason this film is even watchable, with her confident strong-footed performance. Dormer was able to give her character a sense of depth that intrigued the audience enough to want to find out more about her. She was also able to keep her character from being a mere passive victim. Emily Ratajkowski performed her small role very well, restraining from exaggeration and on point with her facial expressions. Jan Bijvoet was able to convey his cold and ruthless character, but lacked the presence and impact for the audience to truly hate or even dislike him.
If you want to see Natalie Dormer attempt to save a sinking messy feature, then go ahead, give it a try. But, otherwise, you are probably wasting your time.