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The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower: Masterpiece Reduced to Muck

  • Idris ElbaMatthew McConaughey...
  • 3DAction & Adventure...
  • Nikolaj Arcel
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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The Dark Tower: Masterpiece Reduced to Muck

Condensing Stephen King’s legendary series of eight novels into a ninety-five-minute film is by no means an easy task for any filmmaker. Many directors, including Ron Howard and J.J Abrams were attached to the adaptation at certain points during their careers. However, due to the intricacy of the material at hand – and its troubling journey to the big screen which began over a decade ago – it never came to be. The man whose lap it has fallen in is Nikolaj Arcel – see Truth About Men, A Royal Affair – and unfortunately, though, The Dark Tower never quite lives up to its expectations.

The film tells the story of Jake Chambers (Taylor); a troubled fourteen-year old boy who has been having dreams of an evil Man in Black (McConaughey), a gallant Gunslinger (Elba) and a tall dark tower that protects the world – and all of its parallel universes – from darkness and evil. It turns out that he possesses a supernatural ability – otherwise known as ‘shine’ – which allows him to see into these dimensions.

Working through his newly-found powers, Jake soon finds himself jumping through a Mid-World portal where he meets the infamous Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, who is on a journey of finding and killing The Man in Black, aka Walter O’Dim, who was responsible for his father’s death long ago. Meanwhile, The Man in Black is searching for a ‘boy’ that will help him destroy the dark tower and allow all of the evil to take over – a tower that the Gunslinger just so happens to be tasked to protect.

For those unfamiliar with the source material, grasping the complexities of The Dark Tower is almost impossible.  Having endured a troubled – some even use the word ‘disastrous’ – production period and numerous re-writes and re-shoots, the film is tainted from the get-go.  Investing very little time in explaining the mythologies of the world – or anything at all for that matter – the story feels rushed and never quite sure on its feet. The world-building found in the books is reduced to glimpses and flashbacks with the writers – four in total – struggling to lay any depth and bring out Stephen King’s complex vision.

Performance-wise, both Elba and McConaughey offer relatively entertaining turns, but their characters are rather two-dimensional, though Taylor, as the young ‘shine’, is probably the one breath of fresh air in the entire piece.

And so for all its hype and posturing, The Dark Tower is unable to offer anything of substance. Void of character and severely underdeveloped, it’s nothing short of a disappointing mess that will most almost certainly displease fans that have been waiting for years to see it brought to the big screen.

Like This? Try

The Mist (2007), The Dark Half (1993), Thor: The Dark World (2013)

360 Tip

Daniel Craig, Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen and Javier Bardem were considered for the lead role before Idris Elba was cast.

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