• Release Date: 25/05/2018
  • Cast: Natalie Dormer, Emily Ratajkowski, Ed Skrein, Jan Bijvoet.
  • Directed by: Anthony Byrne

My friend Brad has been asking me to watch this film again and again and again. He believes that the recently released Andhadhun is a scene per scene copy of this film. I made it clear to him that it was definitely not the case and even after that he has been pursuing me to watch this film. Now, he says that it is an extremely good standalone film. His constant requests to see a particular film always means that it is a pretty good one and that is what made me watch this film apart from the fact that it stars Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Forest, The Hunger Games Series) whom I love to watch onscreen.

Sofia (Dormer) is a blind pianist who has an impeccable ear for music and a whole lot of other things. She shares the same building albeit different floors with a mysterious girl who wears a perfume that Sofia loves. This girl, Veronique (Emily Ratajkowski) suddenly commits suicide but not before she hands over an extremely important artifact to Sofia who herself is not aware that she has been handed over the object. As we dig deeper and deeper into Sofia’s life we realize that she might have had a traumatic past which still haunts her. Gradually we realize that she might have a lot more in common with Veronique and a marked man than what appears on the surface.

In Darkness is a temperamental and moody thriller that works primarily because of its protagonist. Natalie Dormer nails the act of a blind pianist with such authoritative realism and gusto that it is hard to get one’s eyes off her. The fact that she is one of my favorites did make her act even more endearing to me but that didn’t stop me from scrutinizing her essay like a hawk. She is very real as the one without vision as she is comfortable with the piano. I loved the manner in which she swayed through her surroundings, the manner in which she heard things and reacted to them, the confidence and the lack of it in her mannerism. A large chunk of the film is transfixed on Dormer’s face and we react to the screenplay in a manner similar to how she reacts to the things happening in her life.

The film has an interesting story to tell but after about 50% of it, you see through the layers and are able to predict how the rest of it will go. One has to agree that the director does make some strange choices. I was especially bothered by the time that Sofie’s character took to kill her aggressor. She gets a chance in the car which I really couldn’t understand why she didn’t take. Also in pursuit of creating a grand finale, the director takes two strange calls in the aggressor coming to Sofie’s house to kill her and conjuring another elaborate assassination plot to kill one of his own who betrays him. These sequences felt out of place and marred the otherwise realistic feel of the tale.

The supporting cast of the film was apt but nothing that leaves a lasting impression. Emily Ratajkowski doesn’t have a role long enough to make any serious dent. She is dead before you know. However, she was just beginning to come to her own. Ed Skrein plays a stereotypical character that we have seen in so many films before. His job is to aid the heroine in her pursuit occasionally rescuing her by bashing in a few skulls. Skrein does well in both the departments but that’s about it. Jan Bijvoet as the primary baddie is apt but he is in no way as engrossing or great as he needed to be. He does give you some creepy moments in the end but they are far too late to make a difference. As mentioned before, the climax doesn’t help to make the matter any better for Bijvoet.

The music by Niall Byrne and the sound design of In Darkness has to be mentioned since it’s so very good. The music works as a precursor and enhancer to the mood and feel of the film especially in sequences where Sofie is on her own in her house. The film is available on Netflix and it would be a good idea to watch this film with good headphones. I am pretty sure that this would enhance the overall feel and affectivity of the film.

Andhadhun is not a remake of In Darkness. The only similarity that Andhadhun has with In Darkness is in the fact that the protagonists of both the films are blind pianists. The similarities stop there. Andhadhun is a dark comedy marked by never seen before twists and turns that come by the minutes. In Darkness, on the contrary, is a very generic and straightforward film. It follows a certain formula and stacks to it throughout. This I believe is the biggest drawback of the film as it could have gone anywhere. With someone like Dormer helming affairs it could easily have lead the audience in on any plot. I would have loved that.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)      



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