It’s the apocalypse again! This time in Moscow.
The Darkest Hour has poor reviews and it is unquestionably not an Oscar contender. But it doesn’t pretend to be.
The plot is straightforward. On a visit to Moscow, four unrealistically attractive twenty-somethings find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion. Somewhat sensibly, they hide in the basement of a restaurant and barricade the door. When the food runs out, they decide to make a break for the US embassy and find the city in ruins, streets patrolled by deadly aliens. Thus begins their journey across the city…
And the rest is as predictable as it sounds. They run. They start to figure out how to fight. They find other survivors. Some of them die. Some of them don’t. Amid all the chaos girl A falls for boy B. Hope appears in the form of a Russian submarine waiting in the river, some of them make it in time and others don’t. It’s Skyline without the manga-inspired ending (which, let’s face it, Skyline would have been better without). Or it’s Battle: Los Angeles with irritating kids instead of (irritating) marines.
I actually did enjoy the film, simply because it has no pretensions. It’s a diverting two hours of running, screaming and shooting, nothing more or less than that. The characters are mostly unlikeable, the performances adequate but hardly outstanding. It’s a pity there’s no real attempt to create empathy for the characters, because that might have raised the bar a little. The setting is original: Moscow instead of Generic City, USA, which makes for a few interesting moments where translation is an issue, and makes the movie more visually interesting than average. The aliens’ method of killing people – disintegrating them with a touch – is scary without being bloody and while the science is predictably awful there are a few interesting concepts in there. The aliens appear to be composed of energy rather than matter and they “see” on a different range of the em spectrum. So, for example, they can’t see through glass. And one character has turned his entire apartment into a Faraday cage in order to stay hidden (and turned his cat into one!)
Not bad…but not really worth paying cinema prices to see.
Bechdel Test – Pass. There are three principle female characters, two of whom are good friends and talk to each other all the time. And they all have names!